The below was originally sent to participants in the Vail Valley Partnership’s Health and Wellness Initiative by our program manager, Jeremy Rietmann. We believe it’s an important message to share with the community at large.
It was compelling to see so many diverse stakeholders at the table with a vested interest in creating a vibrant local health and wellness culture. Did you know that our region (comprised of Pitkin, Eagle, Summit, Grand and Jackson counties) boasts the highest number of businesses in the health and wellness industry per capita in the country? It’s true.
This statistic implies that it would be kind of ridiculous if we can’t achieve great things in this space.
• We can improve community health outcomes in all segments of our population.
• We can retain dollars in our community (millions annually) by providing quality health services that allow people to “age in place.”
• We can grow health and wellness business development and enhance the sector’s positive impact on our economy.
• We can increase medical education programs and wellness related groups and meetings to support our traditional tourism economy.
• We can drive additional medical and wellbeing related tourism to our valley — which employs our friends and neighbors.
With all of these components moving forward through local collaborative efforts, we are building an incredible and credible, wellness-related destination marketing story to share with the rest of the world. The Vail Valley can be a community that promotes and fosters a healthy environment for all and welcomes guests from around the world seeking health and wellbeing in its many forms.
Achieving these interconnected goals will require an unrelenting desire to collaborate in all areas where our interests can intersect. “Relentless collaboration” is our unofficial motto here at the Vail Valley Partnership, and in this effort it’s the glue that can make this work.
If we can pursue our own goals while actively looking for collaborative partnerships that may bring us closer to the broader goals of the Health and Wellness Initiative, the results will benefit us all. I would suggest that this additional effort is an extension of self-interest and will positively impact our community and your individual businesses and organizations.
The Vail Valley Health and Wellness Initiative was originally conceived (and will continue to serve) as a convener to foster regional cooperation among stakeholders on these issues. We’d like to increasingly connect health and wellness industry leaders within and to the Vail Valley. Internally, we are pursuing economic development goals in this sector in the form of growth in the continuing medical education programs space, and in related groups and meetings recruitment. For all the reasons I’ve laid out above, this is one piece of the puzzle but certainly not the whole picture.
An important theme (dare I say conclusion?) of this meeting, was the realization that the “branding” of the Vail Valley as a destination for health and wellness, becomes much stronger when it’s supported by a community that cares for and is continually improving the health status of its citizens and the services available to them.
The Healthy Communities Coalition (modeled after LiveWell Colorado programming replicated state-wide) has emerged as a one fantastic forum through which diverse local interests can come together to develop strategies focused on outcome-oriented community health improvement. Vital to this effort is greater local business engagement on wellness issues in the workplace. Please connect with Healthy Communities Coordinator, Katie Hass at Eagle County Public Health (Katie.Haas@eaglecounty.us) to learn how you can get involved.
The Partnership will continue to work within our area of expertise as a convener of stakeholders. We will continue to provide a forum to share ideas and create new networking opportunities to build cooperation on these issues.
We will serve as a connection to the valley’s business community and as a clearinghouse of information on activity in this space. We will use our role as a regional destination marketing and economic development organization to share successes, highlight work under way, promote our partners, build support and recruit new champions as we go.
Chris Romer is the president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.