We, The Wellbeing Partners, are “preventionists” and that means we believe that the best way to impact health is to invest in every person from the start. We know that when we are in healthy, connected environments and well-resourced neighborhoods, we thrive.
Did you know that seatbelts, airbags, fluoride in water, narrow driving lanes, and healthy food choices placed at the checkout aisle are all forms of prevention?
Each of these inventions promotes the health of individuals and those around them just by being there. When the healthy choice is the easy choice, more people have access to safety, healthy food, safe homes, and the other basic needs that are crucial to living a high quality and long life.
Prevention isn’t an expensive or flashy strategy. It can often be implemented with low cost or no cost approaches. It’s clever and effective. In fact, it saves lots of lives and money each year.
– In New Jersey, a simple air conditioner purchase for Seniors living in high-rise government housing saved hundreds of emergency room visits and millions of dollars.
– In Council Bluffs, IA the Caring for Our Communities program wraps care around high-emergency room users to get them social support, including an instance of a therapy pet to reduce unneeded visits.
– The Trust for America’s Health published in a 2008 study that if $10 per person per year were invested in community-based disease prevention programs, the outcomes would yield $2.8 billion in annual health care costs over two years, $16 billion over five years, and $18 billion in years 10 through 20. (P.5)
– According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after Delta became the most common COVID variant, vaccinated individuals have a reduced risk of infection at 5X that of unvaccinated populations, nearly 10X reduced risk of hospitalization, and nearly 10X reduced risk of death.
We believe that the best way for prevention to make an impact is when it is held as a shared belief that all people deserve access to health and wellbeing. Then, each of us plays a role to teach others and weave prevention into the health of our neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools through the advocacy of everyday neighbors, co-workers, and parent and teacher champions. The best solutions come from each of us coming together around our vision for how our communities can serve the health and wellbeing of every person.
If this sounds like work you are passionate about, join us! We currently work with diverse groups of leaders across Cass, Douglas, Sarpy, Pottawattamie, and Polk counties, and we need your voice too.
Current coalition groups include:
– Mental health stigma reduction in the workplace
– Latino catalyst to promote fresh fruit and vegetable purchases among SNAP customers
– Mental health creative expressions
– Active transportation promotion at workplaces
– Medical Respite project within the Health + Housing coalition
As you walk through your day today, notice the opportunities you have to move your body, choose certain foods, and feel safe while walking in a neighborhood. Take notice that prevention is present or absent. Once we notice, we can use our voices to influence change – together.
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Published November 1st, 2021