Most of us have heard of the Health Action Group, especially the fundraisers, but there are some misconceptions out there about what they do and how they do it.
Amanda Morrissette, Donna Rothlander, Fumi Osibowale, Courtney Siroski and Susan Norman show off the new crash cart purchased by the local Health Action Group.
When Wadena was trying to attract more doctors in order to keep the hospital going, several local people volunteered to be on the advisory committee for the Saskatoon Health Region (SHR). Some of these continued on to form the purely local Health Action Group, which has no affiliation with the SHR.
Since its inception, the group has had a fluid membership and is always looking for more people willing to participate. The Health Action Group itself holds informal meetings to discuss any applications or ideas to improve health and wellness in the local area. A subcommittee of members handles fundraising, including the upcoming Health Action Auction. Money raised is housed in a town account, waiting to be allocated as proposals come in.
Fundraising itself is not allocated to specific projects, but proceeds are placed in the account and then available for application.
Although the first act of the group was to support recruitment of health professionals, this was only a small part of what they wanted to do. According to current chairperson Eldon Van Den Bossche, they do not yet have a mission statement but their unofficial motto is “Local support for local undertakings.” The group is not primarily aiming at raising funds; the main focus right now is to promote, sustain, improve and support health and wellness in the community.
For requesting funding, there is a standard application form that can be obtained at the Wadena Hospital or at the town office. Some of the group members can provide forms as well. These applications can be submitted by anyone, as long as the object has a health and wellness focus. For instance, the Health Action Group recently helped the hospital purchase a pediatrics emergency cart. If the Weneeda Park Lodge needed a new bathtub, the group would certainly consider that application. If Mallard Industries was looking at getting new safety equipment for employees, that would also fall under the group’s aegis. If a member of the community wanted to start up an exercise studio, that too would be eligible. What the group looks for in an application is a local project that contributes to the well-being of community members.
Ideas are submitted to the Health Action Group and talked over in a meeting, and the members decide whether or not to support the application. This may depend on how much funding and resources are available.
Committee members include Vandenbossche, Bonnie Wallin, Kathy Christianson, Bill Filipchuk, Greg Linnen, Amanda Morrissette, Darcy Swiderski, Fara Nygard and Pat Nakreiko. If you are interested in joining the Health Action Group, contact any member.
By Charlene Wirtz