Organization, outreach, county lines among CHAT themes

ENGLEWOOD — Kari Ellingstad wants to improve efficiency with the Englewood Community Health Action Team.

“We want to increase communications within CHAT,” said Ellingstad, the Sarasota County Community Heath Improvement Partnership director. “We want to put more into skill building, develop an action plan, become better advocates and reconnect with the core skills.”

Ellingstad said the key to improving those attributes will be working on a model of organization. One place to start is to ensure each area CHAT group’s stability.

“We would like to find some resources so that each CHAT group can have something to start with,” she said.

Organization and out reach were among the major topics of discussion at the Englewood CHAT meeting Thursday at Englewood United Methodist Church. The seven in attendance discussed the complications of living in Englewood, since it falls within both the Charlotte and Sarasota county lines.

“There are people who are going back and forth,” said Faezeh Andrews, director of Charlotte 211. “There’s confusion because of jurisdiction concerning 911 calls, depending which county side picks up. We’re working on a Global Information System mapping system with our IT department.”

Susan Todd, a victim advocate with the Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies of Charlotte County, said greater outreach is needed at area service centers like food pantries and libraries, so people who do not normally have access to resources or the Internet can be informed.

“We feel a sense of urgency,” Todd said. “It would be nice if awareness was raised with this group. We need to get more representation from the community.”

Beth Harrison, executive director of the free, all-volunteer, after-hours Englewood Community Care Clinic, said there is much concern with the uncertain future of the Charlotte County Health Department clinic in Englewood, and family planning could be in jeopardy.

“We’re concerned about the shutting down of the (health department) clinic and what will happen with teen pregnancy,” Harrison said. “Unless (the Charlotte) County Commission provides funding, it looks likely to be shut down in August.”

For more information, go to, or call 941-861-2867.


About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News,, and Tampa Tribune.
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