Sara Salo, MPH

Health through

A year of community development

IMG_8153During the course of the last 14 months, I have had the fantastic opportunity to observe how a community shifts, grows, and connects. We have implemented a process called Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP), which is essentially a community health assessment model that focuses on participatory research and strategic planning. Over 45 community partners have committed to this concept by attending bi-monthly meetings, contributing to community outreach, and prioritizing health issues.

As the first phase wraps up and we move into taking action, I find myself marveling at the progress that has taken place. This progress is not due to any agenda, nor is it due to the MAPP framework; it is simply the result of gathering people together and allowing them time to talk. New coalitions have formed around shared interests, unexpected partnerships have been forged, and conversations have shifted from “How can (I) do my part,” to “How can (we) work together?”

It is exciting to observe this progress, and I am so thrilled to see how ideas have developed just 14 months. This is not to say that Jackson Hole was not previously a vibrant and progressive community; it was and will continue to be. My perspective is simply a small one-year window into the workings of a very inspired community.

The final word: Gather people together and allow them time to talk.
Magical things will happen! 

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