Tahlequah Daily Press

May 9, 2014

Wellness project kicks off

Special Writer

TAHLEQUAH — An area businesswoman is looking for input on a community wellness project.

For Elaine Hodson, being in the insurance business focused her attention on health risks. As she considered the concerns of clients, friends and others, and read statistics, it made her reflect on health care education and information access for the general public.

A solution for Hodson was to do something to enhance community health.

She would like to see the statistics change.

“Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the U.S.,” she said, “We looked at what’s killing our people.”

In 2006, she formed a nonprofit to reach out to the underserved and underinsured.

Lifelong Wellness Center Inc. now has a website with links bringing health information all in one place.

“It links to 10 chronic diseases,” said Hodson. “It’s more of a self-help health education connection,” she said.

The website brings free comprehensive link connections for individualized self-help health education.

To maximize effectiveness, she’s also seeking input from the community on how to best impact overall community health.

When the nonprofit started, the purpose of the corporation was for health and education, to build a not for profit comprehensive health and wellness facility with service to the needs identified by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

Part of the reason the nonprofit has been moved from the back burner is awareness of the types of things the Health Department deals with, said Hodson.

Monday night, she spoke to the Cherokee County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Task Force meeting.

“We need community input,  we’re doing research on what the interest is,” said Hodson. “Eight years ago, we thought we knew what we wanted. Now much of the information is on the Internet.”

One consideration is if a facility would be used or if the website accomplishes helping people help themselves with health information more easily available.

“Instead of a bricks-and-mortar building, maybe we need an app to focus on education,” Hodson said.

One suggestion discussed during the meeting was a facility like a YMCA, for family fitness and community education classes.

The Hodsons own land in town that could be used for their Lifelong Wellness Center, and are open to ideas and suggestions while they consider their options. Contact Elaine Hodson at 918 453-8550 for information.