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Workshop Seeks Feedback, Partnerships for Healthy Communities Delaware

June 14, 2018

The Executive Director of the Delaware Health Care Commission, Ann Kempski, kicked off the Healthy Communities Delaware Sustainability Workshop on June 12 at Dover Downs Hotel & Conference Center by establishing the theme for the day – that healthy communities create healthy people. Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker introduced the event’s agenda, and then presented data supporting the need to address the social determinants of health in our state. “The cost of care per capita in Delaware is the third highest in the nation,” she said. “This is not just about reducing costs of care – it’s about involving communities and patients in their care.”

Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, shared details about the state’s challenges in health disparities, infant mortality, and drug-related deaths. “The focus has been with the medical model, but we have to go upstream to address the real determinants that lead to poor outcomes,” she explained. Then, the director of the University of Delaware’s Center for Community Research and Service, Dr. Steven Peuquet, introduced the new Healthy Communities Delaware (HCD) model. “We need to perpetuate a coordination of efforts,” he said. “Better daycare, recreational neighborhoods – we all wish we could move the needle after one or two projects, but it takes a sustained effort for decades to make a difference.” The proposed HCD model establishes a state infrastructure with three major organizational components, pairing people who have specific community goals with those who wish to fund community improvements to meet an established need. During the presentation, the senior vice president of business development at Cinnaire, Susan Frank, voiced her support for this approach, saying, “This is the time to think about things differently.”

After the HCD model was explained, workshop attendees were invited to participate in an open discussion and offer feedback. Concerns ranged from how to grow funding dollars to how to balance the investment portfolio. In the coming months, the proposed model will be further refined, and stakeholder meetings will be held to determine the best path forward. To stay informed about this initiative as well as upcoming meetings, or to sign up for email updates, visit