The Way to Wellville: The journey begins!

The Way to Wellville:  The journey begins!

Please join us on The Way to Wellville!  We at HICCup are now opening our call for applications for The Way to Wellville challenge – five places, five metrics, five years!  

Like the communities we hope to see apply, we are already on the way.  We have spent the last 11 months taping our ankles, lacing our running shoes – getting ready for the challenges ahead.  We have visited communities interested in health, and we have consulted with experts in health, health care, nutrition and local government. 

Now, though we are not ready, we are going ahead anyway, with our call for applications.  We invite you to join us in designing a critical-density array of models and activities that will produce health and result in measurable improvements in both medical and social indicators.

Likewise, we are looking for communities willing to go ahead, even though they may not be ready either.  The only way to move to move!

We hope that by the end of five years, everyone will be ready – ready to look back on some successes and some failures, and ready to continue forward with renewed confidence that concentrated efforts can bring good results.   We also hope that by that time many other communities will have learned from the Wellville communities' experiences and will be on their own journeys to better health.

Indeed, the challenge is only a means to an end.  For the communities that get the chance to participate, it's the possibility of recognition for improvements they want to make anyway.  For other communities and people, the journey and their accompllishments should be an inspiration.  For community activists, it's a source of data – to find out what works and what doesn't. 

The goal ahead is clear, but the precise way to it is not.  Nor is there a single way.  Each way is a combination of theory that should work, and community interest that means the theory will be carried out.  

Details of the contest are here.  But details of what will happen in each community will ultimately be up to that community.

On the way

Over time, this blog and this website will follow the adventures of each of the contestant communities as they lay out their own paths to Wellville.  We'll include both personal stories and technical data, both news accounts and related articles and research. 

But right now, the site is mostly a guide to the application and selection process, which will take place over the next few months.  We'll be accepting applications until May 23, and we'll announce a short list (probably 10 communities) in early June to be invited to submit their five-year proposals.

The initial applications are preliminary.  We expect most of them to be incomplete in the first round, but they indicate what kind of data will be needed in the second round – and as baselines for the contest itself.  We want to make sure that only qualified candidates make the considerable effort required in the second round. 

During the second round in June, we'll be asking for more details and data, which will help us pick the 7-8 sites to visit in July and early August. 

That will be the start of a long exploration.  The first questions concern the priorities and readiness of each community.  Addressing those first will help the leadership group get community buy-in ...and succeeding at them will generate support for the steps to come.  We'll announce the five competing communities by mid-August, and invite them to our Next Step conference in September.

Visit often for details and updates – and we hope to visit you soon.

Esther Dyson and Rick Brush