Lewis County Public Health and Social Services is one of five U.S. health organizations recently chosen to participate in a year-long pilot program called the Learning Laboratory, the county announced last week.

The goal of the national Learning Lab program is to identify solutions, practices, and methods “that enable local health departments to successfully transition to population-focused strategies for improving health outcomes in their communities,” according to a Lewis County press release.

“We are thrilled and humbled to be part of this select program,” said Danette York, Lewis County Public Health’s director. “To have such a high-caliber, professional program available at exactly the time we are experiencing these challenges is unbelievable. To then be accepted has generated a lot of excitement here.”

Facilitated by the Public Health Institute and the University of Washington’s Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, the Learning Lab will bring all five health organizations together to tackle issues related to funding, services in rural areas, and more.

Lewis County’s team will include Danette York, director; Dr. Rachel Wood, health officer; J.P. Anderson, deputy director; Donna Muller, communicable disease investigator; and Ed Mund, emergency preparedness coordinator.

The four other organizations participating in the program are Flathead City-County Health Department in Flathead County, Montana; Macon County Health Department in Macon County, Missouri; New Mexico Public Health Department; and Rock County Public Health Department in Rock County, Wisconsin.