Rice hires two new staff for Healthy Communities Partnership program

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Rice Memorial Hospital has launched its Healthy Communities Partnership (HCP) program by hiring two new staff, Kelly Tauber, Wellness Coordinator, and Amber Chevalier, Wellness Guide.facebook_amber_kelly

Within the next few months, the Rice HCP team will begin offering free health screenings for adults throughout the community. The screenings will check participants’ blood pressure, pulse, cholesterol, blood sugar, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference. From there, participants will be given recommendations and resources for setting up a wellness plan, including follow-up care, goal-setting, and free health counseling.

“Our goal is to get Willmar healthy,” said Kelly Tauber, Wellness Coordinator. “We intend to follow-up with participants, offering free coaching and annual screenings so we can measure outcomes and determine success.”

Costs for the free screenings are covered by a three-year, $475,000 grant from the George Family Foundation. The Healthy Communities Partnership is a project in 13 cities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin to help community hospitals develop capacity in preventing chronic disease. Co-sponsors are Allina Health and the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing.

In addition to the free health screenings, Rice Hospital’s web site offers a new interactivetool called “Family Health Manager,” which allows all community members to register and take a free online health risk assessment.

“The assessment gives participants an overall health score between 1 and 100 and rates the user in 10 key areas,” said Amber Chevalier. “When completed, the user will see what they’re doing well, and where they need to improve.” It also includes goal-setting tools and recommendations to improve their wellness score, she added.

The Rice HCP team is looking for a diverse cross-section of participants for their health screenings. Local support for the effort will be important in defining the hospital’s most effective role in community wellness. A stakeholder group made up of local government, clinic, public health and wellness leaders has been meeting for the past few months to lay the groundwork for the program.

Wellness Coordinator, Kelly Tauber, has a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. She interned with Affiliated Community Medicals Center’s ACCEL and Bariatrics program, and worked as the director of the New London Spicer Fitness Center. She is also the owner of Gracie Margaret’s Children’s Boutique in the Kandi Mall.

Wellness Guide, Amber Chevalier, has Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise Science from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and a Masters in Sports Science from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD. She has been the volunteer coordinator for the Backpack Project in Brookings, SD–assisting children who may not have enough to eat at home by providing easy-to-prepare weekend meals and snacks. Amber has also been a home services aid and assistant coordinator of a home care program.

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