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VLI 2022:  NEK Prosper!

Background, Context and Pre-reading

Caledonia & So. Essex

  • Total population about 30,000 (and declining)
  • 96% white
  • 24% of population 65 and older
  • 13% at or below Federal Poverty Level
  • Higher burden of socio-economic stressors and chronic disease than other regions in VT


  • There is more to health than healthcare.
  • The issues facing Caledonia and So. Essex are complex and rooted in crumbling economic infrastructure and disinvestment, leading to intergenerational poverty and all that comes from it.
  • The status quo is not serving us or those most impacted by these issues, and we need a new way of working together.
  • “Complex social problems require a unique type of leader: the system leader, individuals who catalyze collective leadership.
    1. System leaders are not singular heroic figures but those who facilitate the conditions within which others can make progress toward social change.
    2. Any individual in any organization, across sectors and formal levels of authority, can be a system leader.” – Peter Senge, Hal Hamilton, John Kania, The Dawn of System Leadership

So What

  • We have a long history of collaboration in this region which can be built upon
  • We generally agree (alignment) that we need to move health care dollars upstream
  • A promising and emerging Collective Impact model which partners in this region continue testing is the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) model
  • AHC:  A community centered entity responsible for improving the health of a defined population in a geographical area by integrating clinical services, public health and community services.
  • Collaborative Action Networks (CANs) are groups of cross-sector partners and individuals who organize around one of the NEK Prosper! community level outcomes, develop and implement action plans to achieve the outcome, and use continuous improvement processes to measure their impact and improve their strategies over time.


Excerpts from The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision Making (Sam Kaner)

Collective Impact 3.0 – An Evolving Framework for Community Change (Tamarack Institute)

Centering Equity in Collective Impact (Stanford Social Innovation Review)