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Umpqua region selected as Blue Zones Project Demonstration Community

(Screen shot from Oregon Healthiest State website)

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon Healthiest State this week announced the selection of The Dalles, Grants Pass, and the Umpqua region that includes Roseburg, as the next wave of Blue Zones Project Demonstration Communities in Oregon.

The three communities will join Klamath Falls, Oregon’s first Demonstration Community, in implementing locally driven, cross-­sector health and well-­being efforts that enable residents to live longer, happier lives with lower rates of chronic diseases, the organization said.

The three communities were selected to participate in an expanded community transformation effort, led by Oregon Healthiest State with significant funding from the Cambia Health Foundation.

“Oregon’s promise as a place of opportunity and innovation depends on Oregonians who are healthy and hopeful about the future. That’s why Oregon Healthiest State is committed to supporting communities, organizations, and individuals to create and sustain healthy environments to encourage better health and well­-being,” said Sarah Foster, Oregon Healthiest State executive director. “Right now Oregon’s well­-being falls in the middle of the pack when ranked against other states. While that’s not bad, Oregonians deserve better. That’s why we have partnered with Blue Zones Project to help drive positive change, with our local communities leading the way.”

Each of the new Blue Zones Project Demonstration Communities will launch their respective initiatives in May with a round of community conversations and information gathering activities. Informed by this Discovery Phase, community leaders and local Blue Zones Project staff will develop a blueprint or strategic plan to guide the multi-year initiative.

Leadership funding from Oregon­-based Cambia Health Foundation helped launch Oregon Healthiest State’s community transformation efforts three years ago and brought Blue Zones Project to Oregon.

”We are proud to have been involved in Oregon Healthiest State from the beginning to give flight to this important movement, and we encourage others to join us,” said Peggy Maguire, president and board chair, Cambia Health Foundation. “The positive energy and momentum around making Oregon the healthiest state is inspiring, and now is the perfect time for others to get involved to help Oregonians lead healthy, happy and productive lives.”

The three­-year comprehensive Blue Zones Project Demonstration Community model focuses on changing environments, policies, and social networks to improve the well­-being of residents, lower healthcare costs, power productivity, and increase civic engagement.

“Blue Zones Project has deep experience working in partnership with community leaders, businesses, schools, restaurants, grocery stores, faith communities, public jurisdictions, and others to optimize health in settings where people spend most of their time,” said Aaron Patnode, Blue Zones Project Oregon executive director. “Seeing this approach come to life in Klamath Falls has been so inspiring. We are looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate with the three new Demonstration Communities and support the unique goals and vision of each.”

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