Our partnerships make us better
In 2018, two words, Healthier Together, framed many of Gifford’s social media posts, provided the title for our new blog, and underscored our Giving Season campaign. These six syllables were applied to Gifford swag, drove planning meetings for community outreach activities, and shaped messaging during staff meetings.
Because it’s a simple truth that bears repeating: We are healthier together. Gifford recognizes that building relationships—with individuals and families, with schools and senior centers, with law enforcement and local government leaders—is vital to achieving our shared health-care goals. And that, by working together in partnerships and outreach initiatives, we strengthen our communities throughout central Vermont.
Gifford Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joshua White encapsulated this idea well in a letter he sent last fall to parents of children in our local school system, in which he introduced plans to develop an anti-bullying program for students. Dr. White wrote, in part, “Here at Gifford, we believe in being a true partner in our patients’ health. This means more than visits for vaccinations or X-rays in the ER, as health is more than the absence of disease. Being a true partner means that we need to be involved in the community where we are able, and we see it as our responsibility to assist in addressing problems that affect members of our community.”
Over the course of the last year, many local partners and supporters inspired Gifford providers and staff in our shared, mission-driven work to improve the health and well-being of all in our communities, at all stages of life. Partners like:
Randolph Union High School Athletic Director Steve Croucher, whose passionate commitment to our local student athletes is a driving force behind Gifford’s 2018-2019 athletic training program at the school. “This program is so important for the health, wellness, and safety of our student athletes,” said Steve. “I think our community—especially our high school athletes and their parents—will see just how valuable it is to have an athletic trainer available on a permanent basis.”
Orange County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Gail Lund-Rowell, who facilitates the Law Enforcement Against Drugs (LEAD) prevention program, sponsored by Gifford. “If not for our relationship and support from Gifford, our LEAD program would not be the success that it is,” said Gail. “Together our commitment … will build a healthy and happy community.”
Kimball Public Library Director Amy Grasmick, who partners with Gifford to bring free educational programs on timely topics to Randolph-area residents. Most recently we presented a holiday survival toolkit on how to eat well, manage stress, and choose great gifts for kids. “Kimball Library and Gifford share a dedication to the well-being of the people who make up our community, and to the community as a whole,” said Amy. “Our partnership multiplies the power and reach of the resources we collectively bring to that goal: to help people find what they need to improve their lives.”
Northfield Senior Center Director Briana Howard, who works with Gifford to provide prevention-focused programs. “Gifford is an amazing resource for us,” said Briana. “Our seniors gain valuable knowledge from the presentations given by Gifford’s medical professionals. From foot health to brain health, Gifford is always willing to provide our senior community with the knowledge they need to stay healthy.”
Hundreds of Last Mile Ride supporters who helped Gifford achieve another record-breaking year of fundraising to support end-of-life care for central Vermonters, including top fundraiser Chip Milnor, owner of Chip’s Auto & Tire in Randolph. Referring to the support LMR provides dying patients and their families, Chip said, “I think what encourages me is that I’ve lost some good friends up there, and getting to see what everyone puts into Last Mile Ride. I’ve always said, everyone congratulates me, but it’s really about the good people who give. I’m just the collector. I do it because of the cause.”
In person and online
In addition to forging partnerships and conducting outreach throughout central Vermont, Gifford is committed to making health and wellness information easily accessible online. Our Healthier Together blog, launched in August 2018, features a range of posts by Gifford providers and staff on timely issues important to patients and prospective patients. Blog posts are shared via social media to increase engagement and reach, and readers also may subscribe to receive posts via email.
Recent blog posts include “On Mustaches, Men’s Health, and Laying Off the Pie,” “Local Baby Boomer Teresa Bradley Talks Knee Replacements,” and “With Diseases on Rise, Gifford Doc Talks Ticks.” See more at giffordhealthcare.org/blog.
Supporting student athletes
In August 2018, as student athletes and their coaches prepared for the fall season, Gifford and Randolph Union High School (RUHS) made official an agreement to provide athletic training in the coming year for all high school and Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA)-required middle school sports. Per the agreement, a Gifford athletic trainer covers RUHS home games and events and provides training room hours for athletes.
The partnership is the result of several months of collaboration between RUHS Athletic Director Steve Croucher and Gifford Rehabilitation Services Manager Troy Stratton, a physical therapist who also works with the sports medicine team at Gifford.
Historically, RUHS hired trainers on a per diem basis and to meet state mandates, which Croucher said wasn’t enough and resulted in “coverage with very little continuity or connection to the student athletes.” Now, RUHS has consistent access to Gifford athletic trainers, both at school facilities and at Gifford’s Kingwood Health Center, enabling trainers to get to know the athletes and their individual histories.
“A significant benefit to our partnership with Randolph Union High School lies in the prevention aspect,” said Stratton. “This program will give parents peace of mind. Not only will Gifford athletic trainers be available immediately when acute injuries happen at RUHS home events, to be that first responder, but they’ll also provide ongoing education on how to take care of the body and how to recover from athletic events.”
Croucher agrees that prevention and education are critical. As part of the program, all athletes undergo screenings for pre-concussion and functional movement.
“I am excited about the valuable information that will come from early-season screenings,” said Croucher. “With direction from the athletic trainer and Gifford’s rehabilitation staff, we will incorporate what we learn from the screenings into team warmups and functional movement drills as well as pre-season trainings throughout the year.”