By: Kim Gurley, Dunklin County Project Manager
Quinney Harris, Project Manager for the CPHMC grant made a visit to Dunklin County Health Department on Tuesday, August 16th. Quinney met with key staff members Kim Gurley, Project Coordinator; Lisa Johnson, Administrator; and Kim Hughes, Director of Nursing, prior to having a quick tour of the Dunklin County Health Department.
Our first stop was to the Kennett Community Garden. Volunteers Freddie Graham and Woody Eller talked about the garden’s benefits to the community. Quinney also learned how so many people have donated to the community garden in order for it to thrive and become as big as it is. It is currently 7.5 acres at this time! Not only do volunteers and community members help take care of the garden, but others come to help from probation and parole that need to earn community service hours for passes. To earn badges, Boy scouts also try to help out with projects like building picnic tables for people to sit on while out at the garden to pick. In order to pick produce at the garden individuals are asked to give a small donation, or leave half of their pick to be given to others that are unable to get to the garden themselves, such as the elderly, the disabled or those in nursing homes. Various other civic groups volunteer time and donate to the garden as well.
The next stop was at Caterpillar Clubhouse Daycare where we met with the manager, Kim Thompson. She was able to show Quinney some of the new items that the daycare was able to purchase with the grant money from Eat Smart Certified. Some of the main items purchased were the kidney-shaped tables that allow the kids to help themselves at the table. An adult is present to better help them show more interest in nutrition. Quinney was able to learn about some of the food items that are served and what some of the barriers are between the Eat Smart Certified guidelines and state funded foods.
On our next stop we were able to show Quinney our Taste Buddies program through the University’s Extension facility, and let them observe a class that was learning how to eat healthy. Mrs. Sharon Sutherland was teaching the class how to make spinach roll ups. Taste Buddies helps to give nutritional education to daycares, school age kids, and even adults. Quinney was able to see how the kitchen was set up to show kids how to cook on electric or gas stoves, depending on what they had at their home, so they are comfortable when cooking at home.
At lunchtime we had a Coalition meeting that Quinney was able to attend. During the meeting we discussed the mission statement that we are still working on and updates of our objectives. Quinney was able to meet several members from the coalition team, and to find out how each person/organization contributes to the team.
After lunch we were able to visit Semo Health Network, a provider that serves some of our target population. Semo Health Network provides services to low income families, and works with patients on a sliding fee scale. Quinney was able to talk with Jennifer Lawrence, NP, who is also on our leadership team, about the population we serve. She explained how we all try to work together within the community via networking considering the shortage of resources and doctors. Semo Health Network even has a grant to work with Harris Pharmacy so that the pharmacy can provide patients of Semo Health Network with low cost prescriptions, if needed. The majority of the patients Semo sees are Hispanic, so there is a cultural barrier there, but they provide Spanish-speaking employees to help translate.
The next stop was to talk with some of the OB nurses at the local hospital, Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center, about breastfeeding implementation. Quinney was able to hear from Nicole Dunn, RN, in the OB department about how they are really trying to change the policy from taking the baby away from the mother after birth, to keeping the baby with the mother to get the skin-to-skin contact in order for the baby to latch on successfully. The goal is to help improve the breastfeeding rate that is currently very low at this time. Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center has identified a room to utilize for breastfeeding and plans to become a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace. Dunklin County Health Department is providing 5 breastfeeding pumps and manual pumps to Three Rivers Regional Medical Center to help promote breastfeeding. Our Breastfeeding Peer Counselor at the Dunklin County Health Department also provides on-call assistance with new mothers.
A window tour not only included the town of Kennett, but also Clarkton, Holcomb, Malden, and Campbell. Quinney was able to see many things in each place: the small garden Clarkton is growing this year, the Walmart in Malden that became Breastfeeding Friendly, fruit stands and peach trees in Campbell, and he finished his day with the leadership team at the well- known restaurant Strawberry’s in Holcomb, Missouri!