Natalie Bomstad, Board Member Envision Greater Green Bay and Executive Director of Wello
The future of Greater Green Bay is directly tied to the people who call it home. Wello’s Community Health and Well-Being survey provides a snapshot of the people in Brown County, Wisconsin and how they experience all the things that impact their health and well-being including their physical health, mental health, social connections and the environments they live, work, learn, pray and play in. This data, in turn, informs local action to ensure policies, practices, and systems equitably support the current and future health and well-being of our residents.
The 2021 results include new questions on feelings of belonging, inclusion, and power. These questions are important indicators of a community’s future success; we see opportunity for improvement in these areas. The data highlighted the disproportionate impact the pandemic had on women relative to men, including increasing rates of nervousness, depression, poor sleep and isolation. We continue to see sharp disparities in the comparative experience of health and well-being between white and non-white populations.
One thing’s for sure: Health and well-being took a solid beating during the pandemic. Yet, when we look more closely, a parallel story emerges. Despite the myriad challenges, the pandemic also created an environment that supported experimentation, innovation and collaboration. In Greater Green Bay, our informal network of well-being partners came together and rallied around a shared vision of community conditions that are fair and just, leading to high levels of well-being for all. We adopted an innovative co-creation methodology in our health equity work, and Wello’s application on behalf of the City of Green Bay was recently recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a 2021 Culture of Health Prize Finalist Community, largely due to this approach. Wello was also one of six communities highlighted across the US by the National League of Cities as innovators in holistically measuring resident health and well-being.
We have learned that there will not be a single “grand solution” to the complex, systemic issues that cause health inequities. And, even if a grand solution existed, it would be doomed to fail in the absence of healing and trust between community members. Wello believes in a co-creation philosophy, and that is embedded directly in our mission statement. Co-creation is a way of addressing the complex barriers to well-being in ways that focus as much on building trust as they do on solving the problems themselves. Co-creation means that we forge solutions from the bottom up, through a process of trial and error, with constant input from all involved, especially those most impacted.
This data provides an opportunity to identify, at a local level, the greatest opportunities to equitably improve health and well-being for all the people who call this place home. These are important building blocks for the future prosperity of our region and all who will live here.
The Wello survey is conducted in Brown County every two years and is a partnership with researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Consortium of Applied Research and St. Norbert College’s Strategic Research. The Brown County United Way and Brown County Public Health Department are also members of the measurement team.