Submitted by the Lopez Island Family Resource Center
The goal of the Lopez Island Family Resource Center is to build a healthier community by combining multiple cutting-edge strategies with community partners that will prevent illness and create a culture of health by: 1) Increasing awareness of trauma and stress reactions; 2) Creating new social interactions that revolve around healthy lifestyles with diverse groups,;and 3) Addressing health disparities. We are using a multifaceted four-part approach to weave these strategies together to have a greater impact on health equity than just implementing one at a time.
Part 1 – Valuing and Respecting Differences
Factors such as race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status play a major role in the health of our communities. We have identified three targeted training resources to enable us to expand our capacity to address these issues: Cultures Connecting; Community Initiatives and Coalitions of Communities of Color.
Part 2 – Experiential Lifestyle Medicine
Although medical providers prescribe things like “eat better,” “exercise more,” and “reduce stress,” patients often walk out of the office with no clear understanding of how to get started. LIFRC has begun to implement the Open Source Wellness program, which provides a universal experiential prescription: MOVE (physical activity), NOURISH (healthy meals), CONNECT (social support), and BE (stress reduction). Each OSW group will have 30 community members that meet for 2-hour experiential sessions each week for 16 weeks. Community members are hired and trained to be coaches working with participants both one-on-one and in small groups.
Part 3 – Trauma and Resilience
Current brain research has shown that trauma and long-term stress triggers a flight-fight-freeze response in the brain, impeding the body’s natural healing capacity. The Community Resilience Initiative is a model that builds resilience with evidence-based strategies. Our experience with an initial training tells us that this model is a great fit for our community, and we want to deepen this learning by offering more trainings.
Part 4 – Mind-Body Wellness
Breathe for Change uses mind-body and social emotional wellness techniques for both children and adults. This includes techniques such as meditation, yoga and increasing awareness of the mind-body connection. We are starting with children at the school and will expand.
We believe that implementing these innovative models simultaneously is a bold way of utilizing the latest research. We are confident this will deepen and broaden the Culture of Health of our island community and will have a greater impact than any one strategy alone.
Please join LIFRC at a demonstration of the Open Source Wellness program on Thursday, Nov. 14 from 6-8 p.m. at Grace Church. This is an exciting opportunity to meet founders Dr. Elizabeth Markle and Dr. Benjamin Emmert-Aronson and learn more. Visit https://lifrc.org/lopez-wellness-initiative/ and https://www.opensourcewellness.org/ to learn more.