Nursing Program at DSLCC

Health and Wellness

Community Level Outcome:  Residents of the Alleghany Highland’s will cultivate and practice a “Culture of Health”

To achieve this outcome, The Alleghany Foundation recognizes that social determinants are often directly linked to good health.  These include access to health care, habits such as poor diet, inactivity, smoking and illicit drug use, and the level of educational attainment.  We also recognize the importance of mental health.  To cultivate a culture of health, the Foundation seeks to support initiatives that encourage healthy eating, encourage physical activity, ensure adequate access to health care and encourage mental/behavioral health.  Strengthening a healthy community is a broad field, and additional ideas are welcomed.

Healthy Eating Initiatives

Outcome: Every resident is informed about healthy eating choices and has access to affordable, healthy, food

Example Strategies:

  • Expand utilization of Farmers’ Markets
  • Encourage Home and Community Gardens
  • Provide experiential education on preparing nutritional and affordable snacks and meals

Indicators:

  • Increased sales at Farmers’ Markets
  • Increased participation in or number of home or community gardens

Examples of Current and Past Investments:

  • Olde Town Covington – Covington Farmers’ Market facility built in partnership with the Virginia Tech design/buildLab
  • Mountain Soil and Water Conservation District – “Growing Healthy Kids,” and initiative that provides hands-on classroom education in elementary and pre-school education

Physical Activity/Fitness

Outcome: Adequate opportunities for exercise and widespread participation

Example Strategies:

  • Encourage local clubs, such as running, biking, paddling or walking that engage people in exercise
  • Support construction of sidewalks and pedestrian or bike-friendly communities so that movement is an easy part of everyday living
  • Support for adequate facilities for individual, school and league activities
  • Development of trails for running, biking, or water activities
  • Investments build on the region’s natural attractions to both draw tourists and engage residents to physical activity

Indicators:

  • Community is known as one of Virginia’s “most bikeable” communities
  • Increase in utilization rates of trails, river access or public facilities utilization rate show increase
  • School data on physical fitness or obesity show improvement
  • Increased participation in community-organized sporting events
  • Increased participation in sporting groups, clubs, or sport leagues

Examples of Current and Past Investments:

  • Alleghany Highlands YMCA (pool, walking track, exercise and weight room)
  • Alleghany County — Jackson River Scenic Trail (soon-to-be-fourteen-mile biking, walking, and horseback riding trail)
  • City of Covington – Jackson River Sports Complex
  • Clifton Forge Little League – Linden Park, Matthews Park, and Col. Dotson Sports Complex
  • Town of Clifton Forge – Linden Park Improvements and Smith Creek Corridor Trail
  • Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism – Lake Moomaw Fishing Tournaments and Blueways Initiative

Mental/Behavioral Health

Outcomes: Area residents enjoy good mental health

Example Strategies:

  • Explore and support Crisis Intervention
  • Explore and support Strategies for Prevention/Treatment of Drug Abuse
  • Ensure and adequate number of mental health professionals in the community
  • Strengthen and educate the community about the connection between physical and mental health

Indicators:

  • Improvements in the relevant statistics from the annual school Youth Risk Behavior Survey
  • Decrease in drug-related incarceration rates and decrease in recidivism
  • Adequate number of first responders trained in crisis intervention
  • Adequate number of mental health professionals in the community
  • Establishment of a local crisis intervention center

Examples of Current and Past Investments:

  • Joint School Systems – Mental Health Worker

Access to Health Care

Outcomes: Residents have access to high-quality facilities and medical professionals to meet community needs

Example Strategies:

  • Support physician recruitment
  • Support training of first responders
  • Support nursing education
  • Ensure adequate transportation
  • Educating young adults about careers in health care

Indicators:

  • No longer a medically underserved area
  • Adequate numbers of well-trained first responders
  • Increased percentage of nurses who attain the Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree

Examples of Current and Past Investments:

  • Joint School Systems – Nursing Program (1996 – 2019)
  • Riverside Health Center, aka Alleghany Highlands Free Clinic –
  • Dabney S. Lancaster Community College
  • Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation – Physician Recruitment through Medical School Loan Assistance
  • Southwest Virginia Area Health Education Center (SWAHEC) – Youth Volunteers in Partnership Program
  • Total Action Against Poverty (TAP) – Dental Health Initiative Loan Fund

Educational Attainment

Note: As mentioned in the introduction, there is a correlation between higher educational attainment and better health outcomes.  Because educational attainment is a social determinant of health, the Foundation has several strategic investments in this area that are described with the Educational Attainment focus area.  Of particular overlapping interest are prenatal health and early childhood health, wellness, and development.

Use of Data

For additional information about the social determinants of health, please view the presentation provided through the Appalachia Funders Network, Informational video on linkages between food/health/economics , by Dr. Randy Wykoff of East Tennessee State University’s College of Public Health to learn more about factors affecting community health and wellness and economic vitality in the Central Appalachian region.

In addition, as part of defining the outcomes sought in a grant application, applicants for funding are encouraged to review available health statistics and describe in the application the level of change sought because of the work that is planned.  These data should help provide indicators of success that the applicant seeks to target.  Some relevant resources include the following: