I realized a couple of weeks ago that the Journal-World is sitting on an amazing community resource that, in spite of our efforts so far, too many people have never heard of: WellCommons.
WellCommons is a website and a section in our Tuesday newspaper devoted to community health and wellness news.
So what? Every newspaper covers health.
The difference is that this is a collaborative effort among the Journal-World and other community health organizations.
We launched WellCommons some years ago as an online destination where people interested in health — not just our reporters but those in the community as well — could go to share news and discuss issues.
So when you go to wellcommons.com, you'll find Journal-World reporting, but also news from Lawrence Memorial Hospital, which sponsors the section, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and other organizations. Recent topics have included childhood immunizations, breastfeeding and how to choose organic foods.
Reader and public participation went great guns for a time but, like many initiatives, lost some steam. Our goal is to reinvigorate the public conversation.
A community task force meets quarterly to talk about topics that deserve the most attention, how we can enliven our social media conversation and how we can get readers the health and wellness news we know they want.
Participants at a recent meeting included Janice Early and Belinda Rehmer from LMH, Jeff Burkhead from Bert Nash, Karrey Britt from the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, Sean Hatch from Heartland Community Health Center and Mike Brock from Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association.
It’s a great group, but we hope to expand the circle of people participating and get more stories, photos and information on the website from organizations and readers. We want to have far more stories from readers sharing their own experiences with health and wellness issues.
If this sounds interesting to you, let us know. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or WellCommons editor Michelle Tevis at email@example.com, and we can talk about how you or your organization can participate in our ongoing dialogue about health and wellness.
Meanwhile, check out WellCommons.com and follow us on Twitter @WellCommons.