HRV Newsletter Fall 2014

Healthy Roanoke Valley

Newsletter – Fall 2014

Healthy Roanoke Valley is a partnership of over 50 public and private organizations, academic institutions, community and government leaders who are working to improve the health of those living in the Roanoke Valley. We have over 130 active members who serve on one of our committees and/or Action Teams.

Our five Action Teams have been meeting regularly over the past 2 years, and have implemented several initiatives, which serve the mission of HRV. Some of the initiatives overlap between Action Teams. We have created this newsletter in order to keep you informed of the status of these initiatives.

Wellness Action Team:

  •  Fruits & Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx): The Wellness AT has prioritized the implementation of a FVRx program in the Roanoke Valley.   It is modeled after Wholesome Wave – a Connecticut-based program that has demonstrated success. The expected outcome of the program is to reduce obesity by connecting patients to fresh food at community markets. The participants will be given prescriptions/vouchers for food at farmers’ markets. Initially, we will focus on the Roanoke food deserts, i.e. Southeast & Northwest communities, and will limit the program to 30 families. The pilot will be at the Carilion Family Residency in SE Roanoke, followed by New Horizons Healthcare. Participants will be followed-up on a monthly basis to check blood pressure, height/weight, etc. The program will feature physical activity in addition to healthy eating. We plan to have the program started by next spring’s growing season, to run for 4-6 months. Hopefully, we will eventually be able to continue the program throughout the year.
  • Eat a Meal with Your Family: Data has shown that children who regularly eat dinner with their families are less likely to participate in risky behavior.  With the Prevention Council of Roanoke County taking the lead, the Wellness AT supported the Eat Dinner With Your Family week that was held the week of September 22-26.  After distributing to elementary schools in Roanoke County, Roanoke City, and through the 14 Valley Head Start center locations, roughly 7,000 households were reached!  Families were given an opportunity to take the week long pledge–the results from our pledge survey were exciting! 48% of the families that participated used the “conversation starters” from the booklet; 60% reported actually preparing the meal together as a family; and 85% of families reported spending at least 20 active minutes together (walking, biking, etc.).

Primary Care/Medical Action Team:

  • The Primary Care Action Team is providing support to other Action Team initiatives, particularly the ED to PCP Pathways HUB & the Wellness Action Team’s Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program.

Oral Health Action Team:

  •  New Horizons Healthcare received the requested funding for their new dental clinic, which is expected to open before the end of the year. The clinic will provide a huge contribution to the dental safety net in the Roanoke Valley.
  • Quarterly “mini-MOMs” have been scheduled instead of the annual Mission of Mercy (MOM) dental clinic. The pilot mini-MOM was held on June 27. It was considered a huge success, and provided a much more dignified way to provide dental care vs. the MOM and its long lines and open-floor approach. Five dentists opened their offices to see 41 patients. Patients who did not get their treatment plan completed in June had priority at the Oct. 3 mini-MOM. Dates for the upcoming mini-MOMs are: Feb. 27, 2015, May 8, 2015, Aug. 21, 2015, and Oct. 2, 2015. For more information, or to register someone for a mini-MOM, contact Project Access at: or by phone to: 540-344-4200.

Coordination of Care (CoC) Action Team:

  •  Emergency Department to Primary Care Physician Pathways HUB: Project Access has taken the lead in this initiative designed to ensure that at-risk individuals who routinely use the Emergency Department for non-urgent services are redirected to a Primary Care Home. The initiative was launched on June 16 between Project Access & Carilion’s ED, and has proven to be very successful. As of September 15, PA had received 301 referrals. There appears to be an overwhelming willingness of patients to get help. The majority of patients who have appointments scheduled with a PCP have kept their appointments.

Mental Health & Substance Use (MH SU) Action Team:

  •  Mental Health First Aid Training: With Mental Health America taking the lead, the MH SU Action Team sponsored Mental Health First Aid Training on September 30. The training is intended to help non-Mental Health professionals identify individuals who may be having a mental health crisis. Forty-eight individuals, from HRV partner agencies, attended the training. Thanks to instructor Diane Kelly, Executive Director of MHA, for an excellent job.
  • In 2015, the MH SU Action Team will focus on opioid & heroin abuse. Since opioids are often prescribed for pain, they are in the initial phase of planning a conference on pain management. Mental Health America is taking the lead on the conference, which will target physicians/healthcare professionals as well as pain patients and the general public.   A workshop for healthcare professionals will be offered the evening before the daylong event, and will offer CMEs. The daylong summit, open to the public, will provide speakers/presentations as well as demonstrations on alternative therapies such as acupuncture, biofeedback, and massage. We are planning for May 2015, which coincides with Mental Health month.

Other Important Information: 

  • Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA): The Carilion 2012 CHNA identified health needs for the Roanoke Valley and, as a result, HRV was created. Carilion’s next CHNA is scheduled for January 2015. A key part of the CHNA is the Community Health Survey. Carilion has asked that HRV partners assist in distributing the survey to their clients beginning in January.
  •  Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL): On September 15, the Roanoke City Council created a resolution supporting the HEAL resolution. It recognizes and supports organizations and initiatives revolving around healthy living in Roanoke City.   The resolution was prompted by a statewide request for municipalities by the Virginia Municipal League to adopt a healthy-living initiative. HRV, along with several HRV partners, are listed as partners to the resolution.

HRV Web Site: The HRV Web Site is under development. We expect to have it published by the end of the October. Partners are encouraged to send updates or news items for posting on the web site to Watch your e-mail for more information.


Click here for a PDF version of the newsletter:  HRV Newsletter Fall2014