About five years ago, a collaboration of local residents gathered to discuss a single topic – health.

What began as a grassroots effort by concerned citizens has evolved into the Live Well Leavenworth County task force.

“It’s an all-encompassing health initiative,” said Deborah Gregor, one of the founders of the task force. “It about total health, from birth to death.”

The Youth Achievement Center was a driving force behind the Live Well task force several years ago, encouraging all areas of family health, to include physical health, mental health and emotional health.

In recent years, The Guidance Center has partnered with the YAC to educate the community on suicide awareness and suicide prevention efforts.

Dr. Kathleen McBratney, a physician in Lansing, also works with the Live Well task force, offering her medical expertise.

A core group of about 15 people meets once each month to discuss a wide range of health-related topics.

Gregor said an ongoing topic is childhood immunizations. She said Leavenworth County ranks last in the state in the rate of childhood immunizations.

“We don’t know why that is,” she said.

Gregor said subject matter experts also attend meetings to discuss issues and how the task force can effect change.

She said recent discussions by the task force have focused on positive social engagement for children, suicide prevention and awareness and children in foster care.

“We talk about things like how to get young people more engaged in our community in healthy activities,” she said.

Gregor said the Live Well task force focuses on all areas of people’s lives and how to encourage them to live a more healthy life.

The task force meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 11 a.m. at the Youth Achievement Center, 314 Delaware St. The meetings are open to the public and lunch is served.

For more information about the Live Well task force, send email to yacleavenworth@gmail.com