Growing Up Healthy

Read Blog Posts about Growing Up Healthy

CHC Host Site Since: June 2010

Location: Northfield, MN

Janet Lewis Muth, Executive Director



The Rice County Growing Up Healthy Initiative (RCGUH) was organized in 2006 to identify the needs of low-income families through a grass-roots process and to engage in a new level of partnership benefiting the entire community.  RCGUH aims to bring about health equity and social change through a three pronged approach: 1) by building neighborhood teams of leaders (community organizers), 2) by raising general community awareness about social inequities, and 3) by engaging in policy work to change local systems.  Its overall goal is to increase levels of community connectedness experienced by marginalized families in Rice County.  Specific endeavors include (but are not limited to) modifying the local transit system; coordinating language, literacy, and numeracy education efforts; creating a structure to provide accessible information about existing programs and resources; building social connections within targeted neighborhoods; increasing housing quality through weatherization services; and creating a plan for comprehensive mental health services in the county.

RCGUH is a coalition of partners. All of the organizations and community leaders part of RCGUH believe in the power of its grassroots, systems-level, and community education strategies. As such each is committed to ensure that the relationships and programs resulting from RCGUH continue in strong and meaningful ways; sustainability comes from systems change of coalition partners, innovation and ideas are developed in collaboration with partners and community leaders via the RCGUH structure. The VISTA will support this systems and policy change work that by its nature, will persist beyond VISTA year(s) of service. Lasting change such as reducing barriers and increasing collaboration will become integral to the organizational work of RCGUH coalition parters and endure therein.

Site Goals
  1. Increase low-income people’s access to campus-assisted direct healthcare services or benefit from campus-assisted prevention-related health literacy projects statewide.
    1. Develop a plan for the creation of a free mental health clinic to serve low income and uninsured people in Rice County
    2. Expand on work done through past campus-community partnerships to create a cohort of volunteers trained to assist low-income families in applying for various public health benefits
    3. Work directly with GUH neighborhood teams in creating educational activities related to health literacy
  2. Build capacity through improving, expanding, and beginning campus-community partnerships to address health care access and health literacy
    1. Expand on public health luncheon series started at Carlton last year
    2. Improve the partnership with community and college stakeholders at both Carlton and St. Olaf to contribute to the community dialogue about the social determinants of health
    3. Create a partnership with students from both campuses to support the new EBT card-reader project at Rice County farmer’s markets

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