Advancing Health, Wellness and Education in Rogue Valley

Improving student performance and advancing a culture of health and wellness were the primary themes discussed at the Learning Connection Summit at Central Point Elementary School on October 26.

Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council staff took a lead role in bringing together a broad spectrum of community leaders from the private and public sectors to come together and strengthen local networks, stimulate action and support the link between health and education. Discussions included school and worksite wellness, community nutrition, physical activity and school nutrition innovations.

“Advancing a culture of wellness in the Rogue Valley will help improve student achievement and contribute to the vitality and health of our region,” said Cheryl Kirk, Nutrition Instructor for Family and Community Health/SNAP-Ed, Oregon State University Extension. “This will help get our community thinking about what we can all do as individuals and collectively to make a positive difference.”

Summit participants came from both Jackson and Josephine counties and included elected officials, superintendents, school nutrition directors, county staff, health system administrators, business leaders and local farmers. All committed to advance school and community wellness with time and resources over the next year and beyond.

This effort was originally prompted by registered dietitian nutritionists from the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. Two years ago, the Council organized a similar gathering in Tillamook. This led to the Tillamook County Commission declaring a “Year of Wellness,” yielding positive changes in individuals, businesses, schools and organizations. Following on that success, Umatilla followed suit with a summit of their own.

In addition to the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, the Rogue Valley Learning Connection Summit was supported by Central Point School District, Oregon State University Extension, AllCare Health, Rogue Creamery, and Oregon Department of Education, Child Nutrition Programs.