Chautauqua Center considers role in urban design plan | News, Sports, Jobs

OBSERVER file photo
The Chautauqua Center views collaboration and expansion as essential to Jamestown’s health and wellness district. By working together with other health providers to address the health and well-being of the community, The Chautauqua Center hopes to make a positive impact on the community. Pictured is The Chautauqua Center’s Jamestown clinic building.

As CEO, Michael Pease said The Chautauqua Center wants to be “part of the solution” to expanding and improving the health and wellness center as part of the city’s Urban Design Plan 2.0.

Pease said the health care organization has purchased additional properties in the health and wellness district and has long-term plans to potentially open other support services that he believes would have a “positive impact” on the health and wellness of the Jamestown community.

“We are a service provider just like UPMC or any private practice, except our business model is different,” he said. “We provide a lot of support services in addition to seeing the patient.”

According to Pease, The Chautauqua Center is considering the implementation of additional community-based programming. He said the organization hosted “Yoga in the Park” in Dunkirk this year and plans on expanding the service to Jamestown, along with some additional programs in 2023.

While The Chautauqua Center plans on continuing to expand its own services, Pease stressed the importance of working in conjunction with partners in different health care organizations in order to better serve the entire community.

“I think it’s critical that we continue to provide services locally,” he said. “The more services that you have either co-located or really close together, the more a person can get those things conveniently, all at once. For example, in our building, the Office for the Aging is there and we have Roswell Park moving into our building, we have a couple of other folks kind of interested in potentially moving in.”

Pease hopes that the various health care organizations in the health and wellness district can eventually come up with a “community wellness plan” that would include the organizations hosting various activities that would contribute to the well-being of local residents. As the health and wellness district expands under the city’s Urban Design Plan, Pease believes the greatest benefits will come from mutual collaboration.

“I think there are multiple benefits of having a health and wellness district,” he said. “I think it’s the collaboration. The community work we can do together will be more successful than all of us trying to do our own thing, which it’s been shown not to necessarily have the same outcomes as a good collaboration.”

Pease said both The Chautauqua Center and the collective health and wellness district have a “huge impact” on the life of Jamestown residents.

While Pease acknowledged that UPMC is the largest health care provider in the health and wellness district, he said each health care provider has a unique role to play for the benefit of the community.

“Whether it’s a one doctor or one provider practice or somebody who’s providing chiropractic care or whatever else, we’re all critical to making sure that every aspect of health and wellness is being addressed with the community,” he said.

In addition to the expansion of health care services in the region, Pease said there have been conversations about the possibility of developing housing projects in the health and wellness region that could help build “critical mass.” Similar to how the traditional downtown region has grown through housing projects, Pease said preliminary discussions are being held to determine whether it would make sense to add a housing element to the health and wellness district in order to grow the area.

“As you have more people in the area, the need grows,” he said. “I envision that district being quite active not just during the day, but even into the evening. I think that’s a positive if it happens. I think there’s a lot of opportunity to continue to have a positive impact.”

While the city’s first Urban Design Plan concentrated on the traditional downtown region, Pease said it is “critical” to have the health and wellness district included in the plan since the organizations included in the district make up a large portion of the jobs in the downtown region.

According to Pease, The Chautauqua Center employs a couple hundred people, while UPMC, which is much larger, has hundreds of employees.

“The density that that brings to the overall Urban Design Plan is really important to how we’re viewed as a community, I think,” he said. “Our operating budget just in the Jamestown area is about $15 million, and I would say 70% of that is direct wages to employees. The more money people make, the more they can spend and then support other businesses.”

Moving forward, Pease said the businesses in the health and wellness district need to not only provide health services for people when they are sick or in need of assistance, but they also need to “enhance the environment” of the community by focusing on “proactive work.” Pease explained it is important for health care providers to encourage people to focus on their well-being when they are healthy, whether that involves exercise or activities to benefit an individual’s mental health.

“I think the wellness piece is critical,” he said. “I don’t think people think about this enough. If you maintain good health as a person in the community, you aren’t paying for medications or unnecessary visits. It’s a lot of money that’s spent in different ways, and if you’re not spending on health, you’re spending it on food or purchases that support the local community.”

Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox