Barn Raising Solutions For Vibrant Health
Last week the California Health Care Coalition and a number of local sponsors held a health care forum in Fresno to share information and discuss ways to improve health, care and availability. The first speakers, Dr. Ed Moreno, Fresno County's Public Health Director, and Dr. John Capitman, head of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, spoke to environmental and social factors that affect the health of the population. So often we focus on individual symptoms and behaviors, when external conditions and cultural norms are the most potent causative factors.
According to Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, medical director of the Head Start Program, the great preponderance of scientific evidence indicates that the four primary determinants of health are individual behavior, social relationships, physical environment and economic status. While improving access to health care and improving quality are high priorities, we all have an important role in the solution to the health care crisis starting with personal lifestyle choices and taking responsibility for our impact on others. The principal tools for improving the quality of life, health, safety and economic well-being in neighborhoods rest in citizens and their collective relationships. We create the culture and set priorities, not the government.
In practical, next step terms these concepts add up to the work of Craig Scharton and Elaine Robles-McGraw in the City of Fresno as they work with a widening assortment of partners to improve the quality of neighborhoods, support resident led efforts to address issues, and build pathways to the tools and services that will enable residents to qualify for quality jobs.