Coordination Station: Tips on Project Coordination
Our work this year has been to expand on our ongoing efforts to provide nutrition education to participants in a community-based support program for families experiencing homelessness. The project involves nineteen congregations, two leading organizations, businesses and community organizations, high school students, and several dozen volunteers. In addition to being the project lead coordinator, I am also a fully time academic physician! Project coordination on this scale requires a number of skills that may be useful for coordination of similar community based efforts.
- Get on the same page. Since each organization may have different timelines, objectives, and goals, it is important to clarify our commonalities and identify how we will work together. This approach allows partners to take on responsibilities that play to their strengths. For example, our partnership with Megan Hewitt, Registered Dietician at the ShopRite of Union, allowed us to use her expertise at workshop development and education to provide our participants with evidence-based and practical healthy eating information. The staff at Family Promise of Union County coordinated volunteers and participants. The expertise of our partner Leo Muñoz – Owner of Crossfit Veracity in Summit – will allow our families to find unconventional places to participate in exercise. Each participant contributes their valuable skills to our project in exchange for meeting their aims to expand their reach in the community.
- Develop realistic timelines. Our programming includes two community health fairs and health education for program participants. An important part of our scheduling this year was coordinating our events within the ongoing events held by Family Promise of Union County. This allowed us to shift to a Saturday schedule – which worked better for families and allowed us to increase community and volunteer participation. Our health fairs this year provided over 200 participants and volunteers In Union County with healthy food, education and nutrition counseling. Our nutrition workshop, cooking class, and supermarket tour provided 10 vulnerable households with important information about healthy food choices at prices that work with their budgets. Having established the programming, our goal is to similarly roll out our exercise strategy so that program participants and the larger community can benefit.
- Have fun! Community based programming can be challenging. But if what you are doing is also enriching, educational, and fun, it makes the work manageable.
We look forward to doing more and greater in 2019!
The program is supported by funding from Atlantic Health System as part of the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network.
About the Grantee
The Overlook Family Medicine - Family Promise Union County (OFM-FPUC) Health Education Partnership began in 2016. It aims are to meet identified community health needs, improve screening for preventable illnesses, and provide education that empowers the community to achieve their health goals. Contributing Blog Author: Christina Johnson MD, PhD - OFM-FPUC Health Education Coordinator
Cohort: North 4
Funder: Atlantic Health System