Our Initiatives

Child Care

Child care providers are uniquely positioned to help young children and families build habits that can have a lasting impact on their health.

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Community

Your community can join WeTHRIVE!’s movement to make Hamilton County a healthier place to live, work, and play. Read more

School

WeTHRIVE!℠ schools can create environments that support and encourage a healthy and safe place to learn, work, and play. Read more

About Us

About

To create a culture of health, safety, and vitality in communities, schools, and child care centers throughout Hamilton County.

That’s the mission of Hamilton County Public Health’s WeTHRIVE!℠ initiative.

What started with 50 people in three priority communities in 2009 has expanded to impact more than 300,000 people throughout 28 communities. This still-growing movement, which provides a framework to communities for healthy living, is a result of sustainable thinking from the start.

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Our Stories

Graphic from WeTHRIVE! Community Health Assessment presentation titled Does Place Matter.

Everything you need to know about a WeTHRIVE! Community Health Assessment (Part 2)

One of the benefits of being a WeTHRIVE! community is the Community Health Assessment (CHA) conducted by Hamilton County Public Health.

In Part 1 of this story, we learned the basics of a CHA and how the WeTHRIVE! team gathers information about the community. In this post, Part 2, we’ll focus on epidemiological data and how a CHA benefits a community.

At the end of this post, you’ll find a link to a new infographic that summarizes the CHA process.

Our information comes from a conversation with three of our WeTHRIVE! team members who work on CHAs:  

Tom Boeshart is a senior epidemiologist at HCPH.

Nicole Key is a WeTHRIVE! population health specialist.

Karen Schwamberger is the WeTHRIVE! community outreach contractor.

Karen Schwamberger.
Looking over shoulder of female who is reviewing data tables at a desk.

Q: What kind of epidemiological data do you use for the CHA? 

Tom: Anything we can get our grubby little paws on! But really, we use a lot of data from a lot of sources to get a picture of the people who live in the community. We look at demographics like age, gender, and race. Racial residential segregation, educational attainment, income, poverty level, food access, injury and motor vehicle crash data. For actual health outcomes, we use data on access to healthcare, death rates from diseases like cancer and diabetes, rates of communicable diseases, life expectancy. We look at it all.  

Q: What can data tell you about a community’s health, wellness, and vitality? 

Tom: It can tell us a lot. It gives us a nice picture of what’s going on in the community, including what they are doing really well at. We take the outcomes and do a statistical comparison to the county as a whole. Is your community’s rate of a health indicator statistically significantly higher or lower than the county’s rate? This lets us look at the top ten assets and opportunities for a community, based on how they are doing compared to all of Hamilton County. 

Two pages of data tables from Community Health Assessment.
Data tables like these are included in WeTHRIVE! Community Health Assessments to show how a community compares to Hamilton County overall.

Q: Can you give us an example? 

Tom: When we look at health outcomes, we’re looking at death rates, how many people died of a specific disease. A great example would be diabetes. It’s hard to get data on how many residents actually suffer from diabetes, so we have to look at the rate of residents who are dying from it. Now, correlation doesn’t prove causation, but if you have a lot of people dying from diabetes, you probably have a good chunk of people that are living with it or are undiagnosed. We compare a community’s diabetes mortality rate to Hamilton County’s rate – are you doing better or worse than the rest of the county? 

Q: Does the data by itself paint the picture of a community that you’re talking about? 

Tom: No, we always remind people that we can’t just look at the outcome data, in part because these outcomes are the worst of the worst. Remember, we were talking about the rate of people dying from diabetes as opposed to just living with that disease.  

Karen: So to get the whole picture, we can bring in data from the Community Voice Survey and the Community Audit, too. For example, the data may show that a community has a high incidence of lung cancer. But what else is going on? Did we find a lack of tobacco-free policies through the Community Audit? In the Community Voice Survey, did residents complain about cigarette butts on the ground in parks and on sidewalks?   

NICOLE: It’s the importance of considering the demographic data as well. Say, for example, we know there’s a community where lung cancer or oral cancer rates are extremely high. When we look at the demographic data, we see the community has a population that’s low income or rural or has low educational attainment, and we know that these are communities that the tobacco industry has historically targeted. This helps us find out what determinants of health exist in these communities, because they could impact the rates of lung or oral cancer as well. 

Residents and elected officials sitting at tables looking at screen on the wall, waiting on Miami Township's Community Health Assessment to start, with Hamilton County Public Health and WeTHRIVE! team members.
The Community Health Assessment process culminates in a presentation that is open to the public, like this one in the WeTHRIVE! community of Miami Township.

Q: How do you come up with recommendations for a community? 

Karen: We look at the opportunities we discovered through the data, community audit, and community survey, and then suggest recommendations for those opportunities. We really try to focus on best practices, and policy, system, and environmental changes. We’re also trying to be realistic and come up with things the community will be able to work on. 

NICOLE: We’re not always asking them to move mountains. Sometimes it’s just a tweak. It’s how can we take a program that’s already in place, it’s doing well, how can you just elevate it?  

Q: Any final thoughts? 

Karen: It’s a lot of work, but we love it! 

Nicole, Tom, and Karen sitting at a table, working on a CHA, and laughing.

Our team put together this helpful infographic that summarizes the WeTHRIVE! Community Health Assessment process. You can find your community’s CHA on this page.

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Store front for Valley Interfaith.

Guest post: Valley Interfaith finds innovative ways to help families

Alicia Stollenwerk, volunteer-development coordinator at Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center, is a member of the Lockland WeTHRIVE! team. We asked her to share how Valley Interfaith meets the needs of families in Lockland and the surrounding area. (See below for ZIP codes and WeTHRIVE! communities served by the center.)

Valley Interfaith serves families in need

For families and individuals who are struggling financially, all your needs are addressed at Valley Interfaith. Food and clothing can be accessed weekly, and a plethora of other services are also offered.

Case management is provided to help address those deeper needs surrounding the many one-off circumstances that could otherwise derail a family’s financial security. And soon, this case management will be expanded through Project Lift, a program Valley Interfaith is offering in partnership with United Way.

Partnering with agencies to provide more services

Valley partners with a number of other agencies as well, so our members can gain access to everything from jobs, addiction services, and government programs to healthcare/nutrition, cooking classes, and free haircuts onsite. Throughout the year, Valley offers programs such as Back-to-School and Holiday Sharing to ensure that members’ seasonal requirements do not blow their budgets.

Ensuring food access during the pandemic

At the end of the day, though, it has become more and more evident in our community that food is a number one fundamental need that cannot be put on hold.

When other pantries had to shut down for safety reasons during the pandemic, Valley found ways to secure food for their members in a safe manner. We mailed out hundreds of food-only gift cards to grocery stores, but also made sure that high-risk members could still access food without having to enter a grocery store.

Valley volunteers made hundreds of deliveries straight to the doorsteps of these members who needed food the most during this crisis. Introducing a contactless drive-thru in 2020 was the next way that Valley Interfaith adjusted to the changing needs in the community. However, two years later, so many more innovations have arisen from the need to adjust to the changing environment.

Food delivery, mobile pantry, and more

Valley has accommodated the needs of those who are unable to access our Choice Pantry and the Drive-Thru onsite in a variety of creative ways. We are the first in the area to partner with DoorDash to offer Project DASH, delivering groceries to our elderly and disabled members, as well as those who may not own a car or be on a bus line to get to the center for needed food.

Graphic introducing Project DASH.

And for those who may need something to eat outside the hours of Valley’s services, we even have community food boxes being placed around the community, outside a local church, outside a local school, and just down the street. These boxes will always be stocked up with a little something for those emergency needs, particularly canned goods with pop tabs to be more accessible for those without refrigeration or cooking capacity, including the homeless population in our area.

Finally, thanks to some very generous donors, Valley was able to purchase a refrigerated van, allowing us to operate a new Mobile Market. Now, Valley volunteers take to the road and set up mini-pantries at a variety of different locations, targeting low-income neighborhoods and areas of poor transportation.

Children surrounding mobile food pantry van.

Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center has truly spent the past two years getting as innovative as possible to tackle the serious hunger issue that runs so deep in our community. While poverty has not been eliminated, Valley Interfaith certainly does our part to alleviate it and reduce the strain on families working toward sustainability. It is a blessing to have this agency on our community.

Alicia Stollenwerk.

Alicia Stollenwerk is the Volunteer-Development Coordinator for Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center. Contact her at AStollenwerk@vicrc.org.

List of communities and ZIP codes.
Learn how your WeTHRIVE! team can work with Valley Interfaith by contacting Alicia Stollenwerk at AStollenwerk@vicrc.org.
We Thrive school initiative logo.

WeTHRIVE! schools in action

Throughout the 2021-2022 school year, WeTHRIVE! school districts kept moving forward with their health and wellness initiatives. School wellness teams evaluated policies, practices, and programs, taking action to make their schools healthier and safer for students and staff.

Here’s a look at what some WeTHRIVE! school districts accomplished in the 2021-22 school year.

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