In 1996, the late Sister Norita Cooney, RSM, SVP of Mission for Alegent Health and Daniel Worthing, Former Director, Douglas County Health Department attended a national conference that highlighted a novel approach to solving complex community issues – called the healthier communities movement.
With Omaha’s long-standing history of collaboration and generous philanthropic support, our community was the perfect place to start this work. As the idea was championed by area business leaders, it was clear that an organization needed to exist to address the health needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. As a result, 19 area health-related businesses and organizations initiated a collaborative to address the critical needs of residents living in Douglas and Sarpy Counties.
The goal of the collaborative was set to:
- “Measurably improve the health and quality of life of metropolitan Omaha residents through a collaborative effort involving health-related businesses and organizations along with many diverse community agencies, organizations, schools, religious organizations, corporations and units of government.”
- “To work together to assess needs and to come together to solve problems.”
- “To partner with others to develop neighborhood-based and/or community-based initiatives that will contribute to healthier communities.”
- “To serve as a resource for ongoing support and evaluation; not to act solely as a funding organization.”
To accomplish this goal, initiating organizations formed a unique collaborative coalition called “Our Healthy Community Partnership”. It was funded by the Douglas County Health Department, Metro Omaha Medical Society, nine hospitals, four health insurance companies and two local medical schools via multi-year pledges. More than 20 years later, a majority of these funding and initiating businesses are still around the table helping to make the work possible.
Our Healthy Community Partnership Collaborating Council led the first community health needs assessment in 1996. Initial health issues that residents prioritized are:
- Youth Substance Abuse and Risky Sexual Activity
- Domestic Violence
- Continuity of Care
- Tobacco Use
In 2002, Our Healthy Community Partnership filed their 501c3 designation and updated its name to Live Well Omaha. Since that time, Live Well Omaha has played a critical role in conveying multi-sector partners to bringing together area health systems to conduct one, shared community health needs assessment and has served as a co-lead for the community health improvement plan. As a communicator of health data and information, Live Well Omaha and the Douglas County Health Department partner to release community health reports and provide health data to the community via Douglas County Health Matters.