Imagine a Community of Healthy Living
A Healthier WE, the 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to addressing critical issues in rural health, has released a new paper focused on creating communities of healthy living. The authors believe that many of the seemingly intractable problems in rural America stem from broken systems, structures, and processes that prevent rural people and their communities from joining together to leverage innate strengths, common interests and shared resources.
In this publication, they focus on communities working with and sharing definable health data to drive the needed innovation in how we care for each other’s health. Having spent almost a year trying to identify and study communities that are trying to better care for their members, the authors identify four communities from which they have learned key rural strengths that drive change: close-knit communities, a strong work ethic, working with neighbors, values of self-sufficiency and resilience derived from adaptability.
While the authors admit there will be setbacks and challenges along the way to any renaissance, they believe strong leaders who bring people together can create a vision that includes openness to new ideas and change. They encourage readers to visit their website and read about each of the four communities they studied. In too many cases, they write, communities are still focusing on sick care instead of wellness care, when it is the latter that allows us to create and use a new paradigm.