The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 released its first Harkin on Wellness (HOW) report, recognizing 11 wellness programs from across the country that exemplify best practices for how communities and organizations can invest in health.
“This recognition validates the amazing work our team is doing every day for the people we provide care for. People are our sweet spot. We (UnityPoint Health - Berryhill) are here to help keep their health and wellness on point,” states Aaron McHone, Executive Director of UnityPoint Health – Berryhill Center.
UnityPoint Health- Berryhill Center was among the designees selected from more than 60 submissions. The programs were selected based not only on their individual success but also their ability to be replicated by other communities. The full report is available on The Harkin Institute’s website at HarkinInstitute.org.
“We know that our communities and society as a whole are struggling with ongoing health problems, access to healthy food, adequate physical activity, and the struggles and stress of daily living,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (retired), a 40-year member of Congress and founder of The Harkin Institute. “Our goal with the Harkin on Wellness report is to provide the information and tools necessary for community members to build their own initiatives that can help address these challenges.”
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded UnityPoint Health - Berryhill Center a grant under the Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration initiative in 2015. To improve the physical health status of adults with serious mental illness and those with co-occurring substance use disorders, Berryhill Center staff were trained and implemented several preventive and health promotion services using evidenced-based programs. Additionally, they have partnered with community groups (i.e. Fort Dodge Recreation Center) and UnityPoint Health – Trinity Diabetes Center to offer wellness activities and educational opportunities which further support individuals in their journey toward improved health and wellness.
Wellness and nutrition is one of four areas where The Harkin Institute focuses its research and education efforts. HOW designees were recognized at the institute’s inaugural Harkin on Wellness Symposium Wednesday, March 21. The event drew more than 300 participants for a discussion on preventive care and policy at Drake University, where the institute is located.
“For too long our country’s health care system has been focused on treatment as opposed to preventive care. Unfortunately, this focus has led to increasing strain on our communities, health care systems, and economy. The goal of our first symposium was to create a dialogue on how to re-focus and promote preventive health efforts in our communities, clinics, and politics”