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Hinsdale community members and leaders of local SCALE project initiatives (L to R) Nicole Abby, Ann Marie Diorio, and Theresa Davis gather at the Hinsdale Farmers Market  (not pictured is Katherine Lynch, Community Development Coordinator, Town of Hinsdale)

Community members in the Town of Hinsdale, NH are launching new initiatives and measuring their progress

The SCALE initiative is fully in practice in Hinsdale, where the Center for Population Health conducted interviews with community leaders to determine where their efforts can make the most impact.

In addition to beautification projects, instilling youth healthy habits, and increasing access to opportunities for physical activity led by school and town employees, the Hinsdale Farmer’s Market will be launching some new programs.

With grant funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, SCALE will provide the market with an EBT card reader for low-income customers to use their SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits to purchase locally-sourced foods. It’s a pilot program in Hinsdale.

“It will break down barriers for folks who aren’t thriving and move them up the ladder,” said Candace Hubner, Population Health Epidemiologist with the Center for Population Health who also works with Wadleigh as a SCALE Local Improvement Advisor.

Market manager Theresa Davis-a “Community Champion” under the SCALE label-said SCALE will also introduce the state-run Granite State Market Match program, which allows these customers to purchase twice the amount of food for half the cost at the market; and a voucher program for veterans at reduced prices.

“We’re also bringing more produce to market,” said Davis. “There will be more healthy and affordable options.”

Hubner is working with Davis to help her collect data in new and different ways once the new systems are in place.

“Data collected over time is significant,” said Hubner. “You can see trends.”

Using the SCALE model, which collects key demographic information on equity issues in a particular setting, Davis will be able to see the direct effects of these interventions. She and Wadleigh consider SCALE’s Model for Improvement in helping introduce any program in a community.

“We ask three questions: What are we trying to accomplish? How will we know the change is an improvement? And what change will we make that will result in an improvement?” she said.

Hubner said part of her role is to utilize SCALE’s Plan-Do-Study-Act model in doing this work in communities.

“We ask, ‘Did this serve us or do we make an adjustment?’ ” she said. “Right now (the market) records everything on paper. Maybe it would mean using a tablet to record the number of visitors electronically. It’s all about continuous quality improvement.”