by Marty Demarest

It is thrilling for me to be able to present the launch of Growing Up Healthy, a media project carried out in partnership by Spokane Public Radio, the Spokane Regional Health District and The Inlander. During the course of the next year, we intend to bring to your attention many of the challenges faced by children's health in our region, and the health care opportunities we have as a community.

The project began more than a year ago, as I explored a granting opportunity from Sound Partners for Community Health -- a national organization dedicated to increase public awareness of specific health issues and to facilitate citizens' involvement in making decisions affecting health care. In the course of discussing the opportunities presented by the grant, Spokane Public Radio approached the Spokane Regional Health District and The Pacific Northwest Inlander as partners. It is a sign of the needs of this community that not only did our partnership receive one of the largest grants possible for a radio station working with a community organization, but The Inlander also received one of the first Media Partner Grants ever awarded by Sound Partners.

Through the enthusiastic participation of the three organizations and their staffs -- particularly Melanie Rose at the Health District, Pia Hansen at The Inlander and Doug Nadvornick at Spokane Public Radio -- the project found its current form: a year-long exploration of children's health, beginning at birth and ending in young adulthood.

But both Spokane Public Radio and The Inlander are media organizations, and as such, are limited in what they can do. And so we hope that the questions, suggestions, guidance and insight we provide through this project will inspire action within the community. Throughout the year we will explore ways that parents, children, grandparents and community members can address many of the issues we'll be presenting. We will also be organizing a leadership roundtable at the end of the project, to make sure that community and political leaders are confronted directly with the issues explored during the series.

Ultimately, however, any effect that Growing Up Healthy will have within our region will depend upon the actions and the attitude of the people living here. And so as we launch this project, it is my pleasure to invite you to join us in the process of learning more about children's health and health care than we already know. Read The Inlander. Listen to KPBX and KSFC. Contact the Health District for further guidance and resources. And then I hope that you do what this project cannot: Take action to improve the health and health care of children in our community.

Growing Up Healthy Project Coordinator Marty Demarest is a producer for Spokane Public Radio and a correspondent for The Inlander.

Intro To Buddhism Workshop @ Spokane Buddhist Temple

Sun., Feb. 12, 12-1 p.m.
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