by Caroline Moreno
Community Collaborations Director

“Who do you think of when you consider access to health insurance in general, and health care overall?” Picturing these faces is what motivates me every morning before I head into the office.

As a new Community Collaborations Director working with United Way of Salt Lake’s health strategies and health partners, I am working my way into the complex, ever-changing world of health care. It is a world wrought with political opinions, personal stories of loss and tragedy, and, these days especially, a whole lot of uncertainty. But being part of the network of good people who are working to solve these tough issues always gives me hope. Nurses and doctors, insurance providers, clinic administrators, insurance Navigators and many others, are all dedicated to wading through the complexities towards a single goal: making sure people get the care they need.

Mobile Health ClinicAt a health care conference recently sponsored by Health Policy Project, we heard from former Utah Lt. Governor Greg Bell, health experts around the west, and — my favorite — an uninsured Utah small business owner who actually managed to break through the technical difficulties of the federal insurance website to obtain a policy for his family of five, for $123 a month! Working with these dedicated folks is truly inspiring. But nothing compares to witnessing the individual results of these collective efforts, as seen through our Promise communities.

One of several examples in our Promise neighborhoods took place last month in Promise Clearfield. Dental partner Sealants for Smiles, which places teeth sealants on elementary school children to protect from future cavities, identified a group of kids from Wasatch Elementary who needed immediate additional dental care. Even at such young ages, these young kids already had teeth that were rotting away, due to lack of regular dental care. Lacking dental insurance, these kids were in danger of having to suffer through their pain. That’s when our partners at Davis Community Learning Center and Midtown Health Clinic came together, with help from United Way, to get these kids dental vouchers for the additional care they needed. This is Collective Impact in action!

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 9.02.27 AM

Thank you to our partners who are working with the kids and their families! Thank you also, to our partners who fearlessly dive into to complex social issues such as health care. Step by step, we’re working it out and LIVING UNITED!