Press Release: Gunnison Valley Wellness & Health Guide Emerges from OVPP

The Gunnison Valley Wellness & Health Guide launches online on Oct. 27, offering a comprehensive listing of services to the people of the Gunnison Valley.

The online directory ( www.gvwellnessguide.org) is housed on the Gunnison County Public Libraries’ website. Because the idea of “health” is so broad, and so personal, the team working on the guide realized that it needed to include multiple categories. These categories include physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual well-being, as well as basic needs such as where to find food, exercise/recreation, education, and companionship. “The last category was especially challenging,” said Maryo Gard Ewell, project coordinator.  Ewell is director of programs at the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley (CFGV). “We knew that an important predictor of health is whether people feel they belong in a place.” As a result, the “Get Connected” category identifies support groups and clubs, as well as suggestions on how to locate other places to connect that might not be listed.

The team also recognized the diversity of approaches within each category. There are almost 600 listings in the Guide, the result of months of research and verification.  The Guide had its roots in two initially unrelated projects. The first was the “Health Equity” committee of CFGV in which a group of volunteers studied ways in which equitable access to health care could be achieved.  The second was the One Valley Prosperity Project (OVPP), where people identified “Community Health & Equity” as an action area – with a resource guide as an objective.  The two committees merged, and the Guide is the result.

Pam Montgomery, Executive Director of CFGV, noted that some volunteers, like Emergency Medical Technician Arden Anderson, contributed as many as 200 hours gathering, validating and organizing information.  “It was a total team effort,” she said.  “Healthcare providers, Western students, representatives of the League of Women Voters, nonprofits, government representatives, ministers, County Public Health staff, and so many more helped. It will be updated quarterly.”

Cash and in-kind support for the Guide has been provided by El Pomar, the Gunnison Country Times, the Gunnison Country Shopper, the Gunnison Public Libraries, and The Colorado Trust.