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Health Committee Meeting Notes – April 20th, 2021

Below are the notes from the Health Committee’s April meeting. This meeting most prominently featured a student research presentation on the challenges facing rural transportation in Rutland County and preliminary draft recommendations. To download a docx of the meeting notes, click here.

 

  • Welcome and Introductions

  • Announcements

    • Work Vermont 2.0 Program – Lynn Hughes (Employment Consultant 802-404-6402/mlhughes@vabir.org)
      • Program to help SSI and SSDI recipient explore self-sustaining employment
        • Wrap around support services offered
      • Goal is to improve the quality of life of SSI and SSDI recipients by raising their income level
      • Enrollment period runs from April 1st to September 30th
        • Program hopes to enroll 100 participants
        • Anyone who applies will receive a $25 gift card
      • Partners are asked to refer potential participants to the program
        • To qualify, participants must be recipients of SSI or SSDI, 58 years of age or younger, and worked at least 1 day in the past 5 years
      • Digital informational factsheets are available to distribute to potential participants
    • Overdose Data to Action Grant group – Caprice Hover
      • Dismas Woman’s House reopened and accepted their first group of women
      • Turning Point Center restarted their home visits in communities around the county
      • The grant helped update communication technologies with both Dismas House and Turning Point Center
      • Group is researching potential trainings for county first responders and community members, with possible contenders including:
        • Compassion fatigue
        • Substance abuse disorder language
        • Motivational interviewing
        • Substance abuse stigma
    • 211 Data – Nanci Gordon (nanci@unitedwaysvt.org)
      • Data from first quarter of 2021 is now available
      • 320 referrals related to housing and shelter in Rutland County
      • 125 referrals related to healthcare in Rutland County
      • 28 referrals for mental health evaluation/ treatment and substance abuse in Rutland County
    • Bowse House Trust – Jamie Bentley (jabentley@rrmc.org)
      • Press release soon announcing the beginning of the next application period
      • Informational meeting on May 3rd, 3:30pm – 4:30pm, to discuss the process and various grants available
      • Learn more about the trust and sign up for the information meeting through this RRMC webpage
    • Community Health Needs Assessment – Jamie Bentley (jabentley@rrmc.org)
    • Prescription Drug Takeback Day
      • The awareness holiday is this Saturday, April 24th
      • Year-long prescription drug takeback locations in our area include:
        • Rutland Pharmacy
        • RRMC
        • Castleton Police Department
        • Fair Haven Police Department
        • Rutland County Sheriff
  • Subcommittee Announcements

    • Food Insecurity Subcommittee – Kim Williams (kwilliams@vtfoodbank.org)
      • In the beginning stages of creating a resource database of all food sources in Rutland County
        • Goal is to use an app as the platform, but subcommittee is addressing logistical concerns around updating the information
  • Rural Transportation and Climate Justice: Draft Recommendations presentation – Precious Makuyana and Malika Talwar

      • Presentation and research developed from a joint project of students from VT Law School, Yale School of Public Health, and Yale School of Environment
    • Project Background
      • View transportation through its intersection with public health, greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts, and embedded inequalities
      • Transportation viewed as a social determinate of health
        • Determines accessibility to healthcare, food, employment, and education
    • Project Goals
      • Set and develop strategies to bridge the transportation gap in rural communities
        • How to increase public transportation use
        • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation
        • How to ensure transportation access is available for vulnerable populations to meet daily and essential needs
      • Inform Conservation Law Foundation advocacy around Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act, American Rescue Plan, America Jobs Plan
    • Methodology
      • 25 stakeholder interviews and community engagement
      • Literature reviews and policy analysis
      • Feedback processing
      • Project ran from Fall of 2020 through Spring 2021, with a focus on St. Johnsbury and Rutland
    • Current Transportation System
      • Vermont’s transportation system is highly car dependent
      • Transportation network contributes to 47% of Vermont’s total greenhouse gas emissions
        • Highest percentage of any state
      • Limited public transit services in rural areas
      • High reliance on non-profit transportation providers that fill in policy gaps
    • Identified Barriers
      • Rural character and built environment
        • Car-centric infrastructure that is not pedestrian or bicycle friendly
      • Access for vulnerable populations
        • Transportation difficulties for elderly, people with disabilities, and low-income people
      • Lack of awareness and information around existing transit services
        • Basic awareness that services exist
        • Real-time information about services
        • Transit providers may not be aware of the service needs of communities
      • Stigma associated with public transit
        • Inconvenient public transit network; lack of amenities, facilities, bathrooms, benches at bus stops
        • Stigmatized image of public transit users based on socio-economic and agist stereotypes
      • Electrification
        • High upfront costs for low-carbon vehicles
      • Climate Impact
        • Lack of engagement of local stakeholders in developing a climate adaptation plan
        • Lack of information around existing resilience and climate response plan
    • Preliminary Draft Recommendations
      • Enhanced public transit experiences
        • Supporting local demand responsive systems
          • One stop shop for booking and information
          • Providing funding and capital support for electric vehicles
          • Targeted outreach for specific groups of potential customers (ex. low income, night shift, elderly, people with disabilities)
        • Improving comfort and safety of existing services
          • Appealing public transit centers and bus stops
          • Reducing first and last mile connectivity issues by increasing deviation
        • Awareness and information about existing services
          • Continue technology improvements to Go! Vermont Trip Planner and its Transit App
            • Expand to volunteer driver and ride services which most benefit elderly and riders with disabilities
          • People mainly continue to rely on Google Maps and not the VT apps, demonstrating a need for targeted outreach
            • Rely upon social service agencies, veterans groups, disability rights groups to help with outreach
      • Electrification
        • Support the Mileage Smart and Replace Your Ride state electrification programs
          • Targeted outreach to communicate incentives of programs
          • Collaborate with dealerships
          • Provide more funding to expand subsidized incentives
          • A focus on medium duty electric vehicles that can handle VT terrain and weather
      • Responding to Climate Impacts and Disasters
        • Engaging key stakeholders (including nontraditional ones) in the development of resiliency and emergency plans and the Rural Subcommittee of Vermont’s Global Warming Solutions Act
          • Food banks and hunger councils; healthcare providers and health centers; emergency transportation providers; persons with disabilities; elderly and senior centers; veteran organizations; low-income communities; shelters
        • Communicating emergency preparedness and climate adaptation plans
        • Improving coordination with the local government and municipalities
      • Built Environment
        • Long erm shift in Vermont land use and structural development plan
          • Concentrating residential buildings, commercial growth, and essential services in designated downtown and village centers
          • Promote multiple use roads and pathways
    • Audience Feedback and Discussion
      • RRMC is in the midst of comparing funding sources for continuing and expanding their transportation network
        • Looking at two grants, one for a volunteer funding and a second for paid positions
        • Grants are mutually exclusive and it’s a tricky situation to navigate between them
      • How does the expansion of broadband connectivity intersect with transportation, especially from a telehealth perspective
      • At what level of advocacy is this form of transportation policy change most helpful?
        • Statewide groups, such as the Conservation Law Foundation, should engage local governments into this conversation
        • There is a lack of coordinated engagement at this level
      • At the municipal level, infrastructure development adoption, such as complete street policy, is driven by financial incentives
      • The 50 anniversary of ACT 250 bill, vetoed by the Governor last year, addressed numerous issues on transportation interconnectivity
        • Since it was vetoed for an entirely different reason, there is a state effort to bring back the transportation aspects of the bill as a stand alone piece of legislation
    • Moving Forward
      • This joint student association hopes to continue its partnership, expanded to a number of different issues, into the future
      • Anyone with feedback on this presentation or transportation input, please message Dale Azaria at dazaria@clf.org
        • Please do so by Monday, April 26th

 

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