re:TH!NK was established in 1992 as the Winnebago County Tobacco-Free Coalition. A program of the Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD), its focus was educating the community about the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke. Since 2000, the Coalition has maintained a full-time health educator and coalition coordinator funded by Wisconsin's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP) to build capacity at the local level to accomplish its goals:
- Reduce youth initiation and prevent youth access to tobacco
- Eliminate non-smoker exposure to secondhand smoke
- Promote cessation and resources for those who use tobacco and want to quit
- Identify and eliminate disparities related to tobacco use
The Coalition expanded in 2008 after receiving a federal Drug-Free Communities (DFC) grant from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to address youth tobacco use, underage alcohol use and drug abuse. This grant provides funding for an additional staff person to increase work at the local level to accomplish the DFC goals:
- Strengthen collaboration among communities, private nonprofit agencies, and Federal, State and local governments to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth.
- Reduce substance abuse among youth, and over time, among adults by promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse.
The name "re:TH!NK" was developed and selected for our organization by community youth and coalition members in late 2009. As the work of the coalition expanded, we truly became Winnebago's Healthy Living Parntership. A second round of DFC funding was awarded to re:TH!NK in 2014, extending our drug-free communities work through 2019.
part of a multi-jurisdictional coalition
In 2010, the WCHD partnered with the Northeast Wisconsin Area Health Education Center (NEWAHEC) to implement tobacco prevention and control strategies and activities in Winnebago, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Kewaunee, and Door County. This "multi-jurisdictional coalition" (MJC), known as re:TH!NK, the Lakeshore Tobacco Prevention Network, is instrumental in continuing to deliver outreach and advocacy activities to all 5 counties. NEWAHEC employs one coordinator to assist with coalition activities related to tobacco prevention and control in the four "lakeshore" counties.
community health improvement planning process 2010
Also in 2010, the WCHD, along with the Oshkosh Health Services Division gathered over 30 community members to discuss and create a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) to help address the health needs of the residents of the City of Oshkosh and the County of Winnebago. This CHIP was implemented by re:TH!NK's committees to accomplish its community goals:
- Promote a healthy lifestyle throughout the lifespan
- All residents are physically active, and seek to participate in exercise a minimum of 150 minutes per week
- Reverse the trend of increasing obesity
- Provide healthy recreational opportunities
In 2012, re:TH!NK was awarded a Community Transformation Grant from the Transform WI project. To safeguard Wisconsin's quality of life, Transform WI is investing in 30 communities where people are organizing to make healthy choices easier. This initiative leverages existing momentum and will sparks new, creative efforts to shape community institutions, make public and private systems more responsive to users, and change state and local policies to make it easier for all Winnebago County residents to:
- Eat Healthy Foods
- Be Physically Active
- Live a Tobacco-Free Lifestyle
usda farm 2 school
re:TH!NK received a USDA Farm to School grant in November 2013 to help with implementing the Northeast WI Food Hub among other initaitives related to Farm to School. With this grant, re:TH!NK worked with county school districts to implement 'Fun Food of the Month' into local cafeterias, allowing students to sample healthy, local foods. An AmeriCorps Farm to School member has supported re:TH!NK Farm to School efforts starting in 2014 whom supports nutrition education and community outreach around healthy, local foods.
Winnebago County Farm to School was awarded a Healthy Eating Active Living Grant from Ministry Healthcare Systems in 2016. This grant allowed all 5 school districts in Winnebago County to build their capacity to serve minimally-processed, local produce during their school lunch by funding food processing equipment and local food sampling in elementary cafeterias.
active transportation plan
In mid-2014 the coalition received a planning grant from the WI Department of Transportation (WISDOT) Transportation Alternatives Program to create a bicycle and pedestrian plan for the rural areas of Winnebago County. The project was lead by Winnebago County Health, Highway and Parks Departments with support from East Central WI Regional Planning Commission, Toole Design Group and re:TH!NK members. The plan was completed in late 2016 and approved in early 2017. More on the bike/ped plan...
expanding healthy meals in retail settings
In 2011, regional partners from local health departments and healthcare systems launched a healthy restaurant program called SmartPlate (formerly called eat smart!). This regional healthy food retail workgroup has worked closely with local restaurants to provide healthy, dietitain-approved options on the menu.The SmartPlate mission is to make it easier for people who want to eat healthy to have that option be identified and available in the restaurant setting. With partnering restaurants in Calument, Outagamie, Shawano, and Winnebago Counties, and key health partners spanning this region, this program enlists a variety of dining options for the health-conscious consumer. For more on SmartPlate, visit www.smartplatewi.com.
In 2016, Winnebago County Health Department launched a healthy children's meal in restaurant pilot, in partnership with the Wisconsin Restaurant Association and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. This pilot program supported Kids LiveWell, a program of the National Restaurant Association that provides and highlights healthier children's options in both chain and independently owned restaurants.
community health improvement planning process 2016
Winnebago County Health Department's 2016 CHIP process uncovered new priorities that residents care about. These include more "upstream" issues like access to opportunities that improve health and a new term we're calling "social and place connectedness." Over 80 community members and agency partners participated in "community conversations" and another over 100 residents provided input on the 2016 CHIP priorities. re:TH!NK members were also influential in shaping the new CHIP. View the full CHIP document on the Winnebago County Health Department website.
More coming soon! Our new priorities are:
- Active Communities
- Addressing Alcohol
- Health Food & Beverages
- Social & Place Connectedness