Blogging our Way to a Healthier Community
by Leah Hollenberger

Where you live, what you eat, and how you get to the store may have as much impact or more than making sure you stay current with getting your annual physical. That’s because medical care and genetics play a role in your health, but the biggest impact on your health may come from social determinants. What are social determinants? The other influences in your life such as if you have access to nutritious food, safe housing, clean air and water, literacy, and environmental concerns such as sidewalks to safely walk to the store or school. These social determinants affect the quality of your life in the long run.

Simply put, you stand a better chance of being healthier when your surroundings, lifestyle, education, and your resources support it on a daily basis. Each one of us can consider the determinants that are unique to us and, with information and support, begin to make healthy choices that improve the quality of our life. It is this ability to make a healthy choice over and over, day in and day out, that adds up to a healthier life.

In the same way, our community needs to look at itself as a whole; take inventory of where we are at in providing the support and structure that encourages healthy living. I think of it as making the healthy choice the easy choice. That’s the concept behind Live Well Lamoille, our community’s award-winning blog.

Copley Hospital invited people from a variety of organizations and social services to collaborate on creating the Live Well Lamoille blog. None of us knew if it would work. But we figured by sharing the labor of writing for the blog, with Copley Hospital handling the hosting and providing an editor, we could post once or twice a week to create a one-stop resource of tips, education, and resources for community members looking to make healthier choices. We could embrace the entire spectrum of health, spark conversation, engage people in activities, and simply be a cheerleader for readers.

Since it started in May 2016, LiveWellLamoille.com has had more than 11,000 views and been honored with two Gold Lamplighter Awards from the New England Society for Healthcare Communications. I’ve been told it is the only blog of its kind in the country. Our 15 bloggers write about their areas of interest and expertise and readers can add their comments to continue the discussion. Our bloggers include Steve Ames, Caleb Magoon, David Vinick, Jessica Bickford, Lisa Mugford, Mary Collins, Michele Whitmore, Nancy Wagner, Rorie Dunphey, Scott Johnson, Todd Thomas, Tricia Follert, and Valerie Valcour. Guest bloggers have also been featured.
The content ranges from tasty recipes to poignant reflections, updates on the latest research and trends to thoughtful contemplation on what it will take to address the opioid crisis. It is a resource to connect readers with existing services and opportunities and also a chance to build awareness of what we can do individually and as a community.

Let’s make the healthy choice the easy choice. I invite you to join in the conversation on LiveWellLamoille.com if you haven’t already.

Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning Television and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Leah is one of the bloggers for LiveWellLamoille.com

Note: This article was originally posted on the Live Well Lamoille blog.