Working together to support wellness
The Wellness Center Team believes that we are more likely to live a healthy lifestyle if our home, our worksite, and our environment encourage us to do so. By incorporating more sidewalks and bicycle lanes, increased public transportation and access to affordable fruits and vegetables, we create a community where the cheap and easy option is also the healthy option! Individual interventions will be difficult to sustain unless we support active lifestyles and healthy, affordable food in our environment. This is why we are working within our Klamath Falls community.
To empower everyone to live a healthier life by practicing preventive medicine.
We will demonstrate a more effective healthcare model that strengthens health and wellbeing through chronic disease prevention and reversal, community policy and built environment efforts, and innovation.
We strive to enhance quality of life through an innovative, compassionate, and personalized approach.
We're a team-based clinic that
- Inspires. We empower everyone in our community to create positive changes.
- Cares. We provide innovative and unique solutions, knowing that one-size doesn't fit all.
- Supports. With more ways than ever to give the support to those who need it.
- Molly Jespersen, MPH
- Stewart Decker, MD
- Casey Bennett, MPH
- Jennifer Newton, RD, LD, CDCES, MPH
- Jeanette Rutherford, MA, LPC
- Tammie Baker
The Blue Zones Project is a community well-being initiative that makes healthy choices easier in all the places we live, work and play. The Wellness Center team supports the Blue Zones Project, from working with our built environment in downtown Klamath Falls, to grocery stores incentives, to encouraging community involvement.
- Learn more about the Blue Zones concept by watching this short video.
- Find out about what Oregon is doing statewide to become the healthiest state.
- Keep track of the exciting Blue Zones development in Klamath Falls.
Healthy Klamath is an organization composed of a variety of stakeholders within the community that was formed in response to Klamath's poor health rankings.
The Wellness Center team has played an important role in helping Healthy Klamath obtain a Transportation Growth Management grant from Oregon Department of Transportation to design a new Urban Trail Plan, hosting a Walk & Plant walking series, and working with many stakeholders to improve Klamath County's recreation resources.
Find out more at healthyklamath.org.
They provide gathering spaces and improved quality of life, and also improve the economy:
- Houses near parks sell 5-20% higher than comparable houses not located near a park.
- Municipal revenues and property values increase.
- Parks attract more businesses.
Because of this, members of the Wellness Team worked with a group of citizens to create two downtown green spaces.
The first park is called Sugarman's Corner and is at the corner of 6th and Main Street. It is a great space for gathering, enjoying lunch, live music, local art and more
The second park is called Klamath Commons and is located at the corner of Klamath Avenue and 11th Street. Including a splash pad, nature play, and a memorial to Dr. Stephanie Van Dyke, this park is a cornerstone of our community.
We were fortunate to be awarded $104,000 from the Cambia Health Foundation to create GIS maps that show "hot spots" of health outcomes by neighborhood.
The maps were produced by Dr. John Ritter, Director of OIT’s GIS Department. Now, for the first time in Klamath, we can see the breakdown of chronic disease by neighborhood. For example, we can see the areas in town with the highest rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity.
After gathering information from the GIS maps and conducting additional research, the Wellness Team used the remaining grant funding from the Cambia Health Foundation to embark on a separated bike lane project along Oregon Avenue, connecting Moore Park to downtown.
The project was broken into two phases with Phase 1 connecting Biehn Street and downtown and Phase 2 connecting Biehn Street to Moore Park. Cascade Health Alliance provided $209,000 of funding to construct Phase 1, which was completed in June 2018.
Separated bike lanes:
- Increase physical activity levels.
- Improve safety of pedestrians and bicycle riders.
- Improve the perception of safety among drivers.
They also improve economies.
- Sales increase at local businesses.
- Rents increase along the path.
- There is a decrease in commercial vacancies.
- Tourism goes up.
- Traffic slows.
- There are fewer crashes and cycling injuries.
We were also fortunate to receive an $83,000 grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to build a trail connecting the Oregon Institute of Technology and Sky Lakes Medical Center called the Geo Trail.
The Geo Trail will be a 6,000 foot long hiking and snowshoeing trail located on the hillside behind the campuses. Nearly half the trail (2,500 feet) will be ADA accessible, including the trailhead parking lot.
A few benefits of the trail:
- Link the two campuses to Crystal Terrace.
- Provide scenic vistas of the Klamath Basin.
- Offer an opportunity for relaxation, education about geothermal and solar energy, and a new space for physical activity.