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Featured Member

Collaborating and Networking for Positive Change

CCPH Member Renee Veksler shares in her interview her experiences with the community-based collaborative organization Get Healthy Guam Coalition. Renee discusses how, with collaboration and networking, she has been able to grow and develop the Coalition and achieve the organization's goals of disseminating information to communities across the islands of Guam on improving health through active lifestyles. Renee talks about the importance in her program to practice health education designed in a culturally appropriate way that is tailored to the uniqueness of these communities. Renee's accomplishments show how, through dedication, persistence and creativity, along with active collaboration and networking with diverse audiences and organizations, goals can be achieved and positive changes can be made.


  1. Briefly, what is the mission of your organization/partnership? What do you most want people to know about your organization/partnership and the work that you do?
  2. What are you most passionate about in your work?
  3. What is the biggest challenge you face in your work? How are you working to overcome it?
  4. What wisdom, tips or lessons learned in your work would you like to communicate to fellow CCPH members?
  5. What is your dream for the future of your organization/partnership?
  6. What does “community-campus partnership” mean to you?
  7. If you could give advice to a policy maker (Congress, President, Secretary of Health, Surgeon General, etc.) what would you say?
  8. Why did you join CCPH?
  9. What strengths and talents do you bring to CCPH?
  10. What is your greatest hope for CCPH going forward?

1. Briefly, what is the mission of your organization/partnership? What do you most want people to know about your organization/partnership and the work that you do?

Our mission: The Get Healthy Guam Coalition is a community-based collaborative organization dedicated to Raising Awareness and Motivating People to Actively Engage in Healthy Lifestyles.

We don't have a membership. We work with community partners to accomplish goals and projects. We also don't have employees or overhead costs at this time.

2. What are you most passionate about in your work?

I like that we have the opportunity to be creative and to do projects that are unique to Guam. I am excited about finding support and community partners to accomplish goals we have set. I would like some projects to win awards to put Guam and the Guam Memorial Hospital on the map for community benefit.

3. What is the biggest challenge you face in your work? How are you working to overcome it?

I have introduced some new missions and networking suggestions that have met some resistance. This is probably because of our distance from the US States and the innovative movements we are removed from. I belong to some associations that have generously provided me documentation and support, organizations such as Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and the Association for Community Health Improvement. This helps me to be persuasive and has been working.

4. What wisdom, tips or lessons learned in your work would you like to communicate to fellow CCPH members?

Projects can get done with good vision, networking, contributing community partners, and lots of passion, even from just a few people. Network and be persistent. If the pathway to the goal doesn't work, keep the goal in mind, but use a different path. It may be necessary to add some excitement. Think like a business and provide an 'advertisement or commercial' to win people. This can be in the form of a contest. Big money isn't the only solution to driving a project home. If fundraising doesn't work out, be creative and innovative, and on the lookout for community partners with a similar mission, if only for a few key months.


5. What is your dream for the future of your organization/partnership?

I hope we can be involved in very strong partnership relationships with outside organizations, from Guam, to really produce public health results that can be evaluated. I hope we can also be a good influence to start up more preventive action and movements. We need to reduce the numbers of preventable health diseases on Guam such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancers.

6. What does "community-campus partnership" mean to you?

It means for Universities, community colleges, and other educational institutions to collaborate with other organizations in the community to accomplish shared goals.


7. If you could give advice to a policy maker (e.g. a Legislator, President, Prime Minister, etc.) what would you say?

Write policies that require better collaborations between agencies to improve the health of our community, including environmental health.


8. Why did you join CCPH?

I like the idea of collaborating widely in the community. I was hoping to receive more advice and mentoring in what I am trying to accomplish. I value that there is an opportunity to network among the members - it is a good idea.


9. What strengths and talents do you bring to CCPH?

I am a hospital health educator and received my MA in Health Sciences/Health Promotion recently from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. I was a high school teacher for 7 years and taught as adjunct faculty for 3 semesters at the community college level. During that time teaching at the community college, I required my students to do 5 hours of service learning each semester and saw good value in that for the students and for the community.

The Energetic exercise, Colorful eating (E.C.) does it! HealthFest was planned from a vision the Get Healthy Guam Coalition had, to prevent adolescent obesity. It was going to be something small to be held at each of the island's high schools. Instead it turned into something bigger, where we invited all 32 middle and high schools to one high school for lots of recreational activities, youth sports physicals and good nutritious eating.

I have learned a lot from the experience and am willing to share the plusses and minuses of pulling off such an event. The event was held on April 27th, 2008. Website: www.gethealthyguam.org.

10. What is your greatest hope for CCPH going forward?

I value that there is an opportunity to network among the members and I am hoping this opportunity will be improved over time because it is a good idea. I hope you will attract even more members with similar interests to my own who will be willing, through CCPH encouragement and incentive, to network.


To read about previous featured members click here.

If you would like to be an upcoming CCPH Featured Member, or would like to refer a colleague, please email info@ccph.info.

 

 
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