Greater Seacoast Community Health (GSCH)’s Strafford County Public Health Network (SCPHN) was awarded a two-year grant for $120,000 from Tufts Health Plan Foundation. This grant aims to create healthier communities to age in across the greater Strafford County area by addressing barriers to improved livability for all ages and populations. This grant will be implemented by GSCH with Strafford Regional Planning Commission (SRPC) as an award subrecipient. SRPC is an advisory organization providing technical planning assistance to eighteen communities in three counties in New Hampshire. The funds will support a collaborative effort to develop a regional age-friendly plan for all of Strafford County and nearby towns in Rockingham and Carroll Counties. This is one of 13 new community investments totaling $1.7 million that reflect the Foundation’s support of collaborative community efforts and systems change to advance healthy aging.
“We have an opportunity to think differently about how our systems are addressing community needs," said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “We are living in unprecedented times. We need to learn from this experience and think about how we can change the conditions that hold problems in place.”
This project leverages the strengths of a public health network and a planning commission to advance age-friendly principles. Greater Seacoast Community Health, a network of community health centers serving 20,000 people in need of affordable health care also hosts one of 13 public health networks in New Hampshire, Strafford County Public Health Network (SCPHN). Together with SCPHN, both GSCH and SRPC will integrate the AARP age-friendly domains framework and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration framework to address community health and wellness.
SRPC Executive Director Jennifer Czysz reflected on the successful application sharing, “We hope to reach a broad sector of both the planning and public health communities so that this work will have meaning, serve the people it is designed for, and create a more inclusive and accessible region that is supportive and friendly to all.”
The program will include an assets and gaps analysis to generate Community Assessments with implementable strategies to address broader regional needs and trend related to the aging population. Recommendations can be used to inform future plans, policies, and care systems so that currently under-met needs are highlighted and addressed strategically and over time, and the resulting resource guide can be distributed as tool for regional residents. The funding will also support focused aging plans for selected communities, and pilot projects if time and funds allow.
“We are overjoyed to be given the opportunity to enhance our efforts in creating healthier communities to live, work, play and age,” shared Ashley Desrochers of the Strafford County Public Health Network. One of the ways this happens is on a community level through partnerships and shared visions. This project will do just that and we can’t wait to get started!”
About Tufts Health Plan Foundation
Established in 2008, Tufts Health Plan Foundation supports the health and wellness of the diverse communities we serve. The Foundation has given more than $40 million to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island nonprofits that promote healthy living with an emphasis on older adults. The Foundation began funding in New Hampshire in 2016. The Tufts Health Plan Foundation funds programs that move communities toward implementing age-friendly policies and practices that are relevant, focus on older adults and include them in community solutions. Visit www.tuftshealthplanfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.