Sign up now: Verdant Healthier Community Conference is Feb. 21

Join the Verdant Health Commission and your fellow health, social service, and community providers to learn more about how social and physical environments affect our community’s health, identity, connection, safety, and resilience. These topics impact all sectors of our community, and we look forward to delving into the role they play in South Snohomish County.

View the agenda overview below, or jump to detailed descriptions of the keynote and breakout sessions.

VHCC Flyer 2019


Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019

Time: 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (check-in is 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.)

Location: Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th Street SW, Lynnwood — free parking available

Cost: $49 per person. Registration includes a healthy breakfast. Scholarships are available. Download the conference scholarship form for details or to apply for a scholarship.

Keynotes & Breakout Sessions:

  • Breakfast keynote by Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University
  • 3 interactive breakout sessions to choose between that will provide local context and time for discussion


To register, visit the Eventbrite registration website or contact us at (425) 582-8600 with questions.
Online registration ends Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Registration at the door may be available, space permitting.





7:30-8:00 a.m.

Arrival & Check In
Help Yourself to Healthy Breakfast

8:00-9:00 a.m.

Breakfast Keynote
Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University

Breakout Sessions
Each of the following interactive breakout sessions will look at how organizations in our region use space to increase interpersonal connections and shape behaviors. The facilitated conversations will include an examination of strengths, weaknesses, and lessons learned as well as takeaways that participants can apply to promote individual and community health.

9:15-10:45 a.m.

Building Community Identity

Creating Connection

Increasing Safety & Resilience

10:55-11:30 a.m.

Closing Remarks & Awards
Verdant Superintendent Robin Fenn

Keynote and Breakout Session Details

Eric Klinenberg

Breakfast Keynote Speaker: Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University

In this keynote, Klinenberg will highlight how inequality and division are affecting our society and offer a way forward, with particular emphasis on what he describes as “social infrastructure.” When it is strong, neighborhoods flourish; when it is neglected, as it has been in recent years, families and individuals must fend for themselves. He believes that the future of healthy societies rests not simply on shared values but on shared spaces: the libraries, childcare centers, bookstores, churches, synagogues, and parks where crucial, sometimes life-saving connections, are formed. These are places where people gather and linger, making friends across group lines and strengthening the entire community. The impact this has on the social determinants of health is tangible, and we will dive into examples to learn more about what’s working in other communities Klinenberg has researched.

“The social and physical environment shapes our behavior in ways we’ve failed to recognize; it helps make us who we are and determines how we live. When it is strong, neighborhoods flourish; when it is neglected, as it has been in recent years, families and individuals must fend for themselves.” — Eric Klinenberg

Eric Klinenberg is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. He is the author of Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life (Crown, 2018), Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (The Penguin Press, 2012), Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America’s Media (Metropolitan Books, 2007), and Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2002), as well as the editor of Cultural Production in a Digital Age and of the journal Public Culture. His scholarly work has been published in journals including the American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, and Ethnography, and he has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, The Washington Post, Slate, Le Monde Diplomatique, The London Review of Books, and the radio program, This American Life.

Read his Op-Ed in USA Today titled “Extreme weather is already dangerous to the vulnerable, but it will get worse for all of us” (published Jan. 30, 2019)


Breakout Session: Building Community Identity

Places and spaces can build a strong community identity, and in this session, we will discuss several regional examples from parks, libraries, and the arts. The session will include discussion on how the morning keynote from Eric Klinenberg affects our own South Snohomish County identity.

  • Trust for Public Land’s work with park development
  • Sno-Isle Libraries’ Mariner Community Campus
  • City of Edmonds bringing people together around art and culture


Breakout Session: Creating Connection

A strong social infrastructure provides space to create connections across and between different populations within our community. In this session, hear examples of how families with children connect with each other and with our public schools, how our workplaces can foster connections between employees, and how a group of otherwise disconnected individuals can gather together around one common need and learn from one another. This session will also include reflection on how the messages from morning keynote speaker Eric Klinenberg transfers to South Snohomish County, with a focus on creating connection.

  • Edmonds School District’s awareness and action to support students and families
  • Experience Momentum’s workplace programs
  • PEPS’ early parenting support approach


Breakout Session: Increasing Safety & Resilience

In this session, we will look at strategies used by programs in the Puget Sound area to foster relationships between diverse and varying populations with the goal of increasing safety and both individual and community resilience. These examples will include strategies in use for caregivers, businesses, police, faith communities, vulnerable populations, and homeless individuals. This session also will include time to discuss how the messages from keynote Eric Klinenberg connects with safety and resilience in South Snohomish County.

  • “Cops & Clergy” with the Lynnwood Police Department
  • Take the Next Step’s care for the homeless
  • “Alzheimer’s Café” with the YMCA of Greater Seattle


  • Thank You to Our Sponsors:
  • Kaiser Permanente

  • Premera Blue Cross

  • Coordinated Care

  • Edmonds Community College

  • Amerigroup

  • Community Health Plan of Washington

  • Community Transit

  • Foster Pepper

  • Herald Media logo

  • Molina Healthcare

  • Puget Sound Kidney Centers

  • Sea Mar

  • Swedish Edmonds

  • University of Washington