North Side Health Advisory Committee
Panel members hope for more participation
The North Side Health Advisory Committee was the fourth such panel to be created by Columbus Public Health, but is the first to be within a bit of paperwork of formally achieving nonprofit status.
And yet ...
The committee, which is initially focusing on ways to improve health in the Northland area, has put on three successful walking events to the North YMCA where a health fair has been held.
And yet ...
The committee's members help sponsor weekly deliveries of fresh produce to the Y by the nonprofit Local Matters organization's Veggie Van, have had a float in the Northland Community Independence Day Parade for the past several years and their panel will be the beneficiary of this year's Northland Area Business Association golf fundraiser.
And yet, Mathew S. Baldwin, the Columbus Public Health management analyst who serves as adviser to the committee, placed an item on the agenda of last month's meeting asking, "How can we get more people involved in the NSHAC, and who would they be?"
"It's always the usual suspects whenever we're doing something in Northland," Scott Dowling said last week.
He and Sandy LaFollette co-chair the committee.
"It's a fairly large group, but there's a core group of people who seem to be involved in any activity in Northland," he added. "I think we just need to expand that. Maybe we have to reach out to some of the groups that haven't been as represented."
Dowling said the demographics in Northland have changed "pretty rapidly" in the past 10 years.
"All those folks are making up a big part of the population now, but I'm wondering when I'm sitting in meetings how well represented those new people are," he said.
It's the same dilemma that Northland Community Council president Emmanuel V. Remy has been discussing since taking office earlier this year, Dowling added.
He acknowledged that committee members have so much on their collective plates that they didn't give Baldwin's agenda item a great deal of attention at their June meeting.
But they will, Dowling said, and they must.
"There was a lot of stuff that we went over because of parade and International Festival, so that kind of is something that's going to have to be ongoing," he said. "We're almost too busy to think about that right now."
Getting even a minimal commitment of time and effort from more than the handful currently involved with the committee could help lighten the members' burden and expand what the advisory panel is able to do in terms of approaches to improve the community's overall health, he said.
"We're not asking anybody to necessarily be a member of the board or an officer or anything like that, although that would be nice. We were hoping to get people to volunteer a few hours a month or a week," he said.
The North Side Health Advisory Committee meets at 6:30 p.m. the fourth Thursday of the month in the Heritage Day Health Center, 1700 E. Dublin-Granville Road.