We sat down with Kachina Inman to learn more about the past, present and future of the Healthy Living Collaborative (HLC), a SWACH program. HLC is a cross-sector coalition of 60+ partners working to advance policy, systems and environmental change in Southwest Washington. Kachina has played a key role in helping to establish and grow HLC. We spoke with her as she prepared to transition from her role at SWACH and HLC to her new home in Eugene, Oregon.
What are you most proud of when you look back at your work with the Healthy Living Collaborative?
When I look at my time with HLC, one of the things I’m most proud of is helping create an opportunity for cross-sector partners – housing, health, education, nonprofits – to come together with our community health worker teams. So, finding that time where we can learn from each other and really move into action.
We’ve seen that happen in lots of different ways, like the policy work; it’s been incredible to watch that grow and develop over time. Looking at how we come together and decide on those issues that are most important for our community and then making that happen. It’s really exciting to see that work grow and develop.
Now that HLC is a SWACH program, how do you see HLC impacting and aligning with SWACH?
Now that HLC is part of SWACH, there’s a lot of opportunity. A lot of things have actually already happened and that’s been pretty exciting to watch. For example, the equity collaborative. For HLC, when we brought together our cross-sector partners with community health workers, equity came up as a place where we needed to learn together. We needed to have a common language. And now we’re taking that experience, that learning, to SWACH. And SWACH has really made health equity a core piece of the work. Sky Wilson will be supporting an equity collaborative with 15 organizational partners and they will embark on an equity assessment over the next year. That’s huge. That is massive transformation and it’s really exciting to see that embedded in the way SWACH is doing work.
Another way that this is happening is just listening to our staff and partners talk about who needs to be at decision-making tables. And there is a deep understanding that diverse community members – folks from all different parts of our community and different sectors – all need to be at decision-making tables together. I’ve watched our staff and partners embrace that and know that we need to go deeper.
What are you most excited about for HLC’s future?
Some of the things I’m most excited about for HLC’s future are continuing to grow community health work in our region. We’ve been working, growing, learning and building together as a community, and understanding the role of community health workers and their opportunity to really impact the health of our community. I see that continuing to grow.
Just having our Rose Village team as part of SWACH right now is huge. We’re learning from them. They are helping us shape our work as we move forward.
Can you tell us a little bit about the Community Connections Initiative?
It’s exciting to see how some of the work that HLC has been embarking on for a number of years (and has taken some time!) is continuing to grow and provide support for our transformation projects.
The Community Connections Initiative is something we’ve been working with Providence Center for Outcomes Research and Education (CORE) on for a number of years. We’ve been looking at data sharing and now we’re embarking on it. CORE has access to Medicaid claims data, education data and housing data, which will allow us to plan for our community and know where we need to make big investments to create change, as well as allow us to evaluate the work that we’re doing.
What stands out to you as you reflect on your time in Southwest Washington?
As I reflect on my time here in Southwest Washington, I just feel immense gratitude for all that has happened and all that I have learned from so many amazing leaders in this community. It has truly, truly, been an honor to be part of this region.
It’s been 13 years and it’s been a good seven, almost eight years, supporting the Healthy Living Collaborative. I just want to take a moment to thank all of you, and you know who you are, who have taken the time to mentor me, to teach me — and to check me. I deeply appreciate that. And thank you to our Community Health Worker teams. You all have taught me so much. So, thank you. And I will miss all of you so much!