Why treat the health-care debate like a spectator sport where all we do is watch and worry about how the U.S. Congress will resolve the issue of health care? As local leaders, we can bring meaningful contributions to the national discussion. We can jump in the arena. We can become compassionate gladiators fighting for the health of our families, neighborhoods, cities and spheres of influence.
The roller-coaster debate over health care provides a golden opportunity for each of us to lead from where we are. But remember, golden opportunities don’t always look golden. They can appear futile. Even dangerous. And they don’t necessarily emerge conflict-free. And yet, golden opportunities, when viewed with the eyes of faith, are priceless chances to innovate, build coalitions, and care for others.
Major decisions about health care — whether to revise the Affordable Health Care Act or repeal it and introduce an alternative — eventually will be made by the legislators our nation has elected. But while the debate and protests continue, as Jesus followers and local leaders there are additional ways we can engage in the health care debate. We can pursue essential solutions on the ground.
We can start by launching or shoring up health-related actions on the local level that can have a transformational impact. For example:
- Ask for God's grace when praying about the health of communities and talk with Him about specific health trends; ask in faith, believing Jesus can heal
- Work to eliminate food deserts
- Push excellent nutrition in school and after-school programs
- Support and create community-based programs that help seniors live in safe homes while them providing them access to physicians and prescriptions
- Encourage and participate in community gardens
- Increase education and accessibility for health prevention and screening
- Insist on creating buildings and spaces equipped for multiple generations and physical abilities
- Tackle transportation as a health-related issue
- Host bicycle and walking clubs and increase activities such as marathons
- Underscore the need for mental health care professionals in underserved communities
- Volunteer at hospitals
- Invite an array of health care professionals to host presentations at community meetings, faith-based organizations and churches that train audiences about healthy living
- Increase healthy recreational outlets for children and teens such as playgrounds, basketball courts and soccer fields
- Work with employers and municipalities to increase employment, support entrepreneurs and help build wealth
- Hold fast-food establishments accountable for their menus
- Engage with city and business leaders to invite food providers who offer healthy menus
- Pray that people will be moved to participate in strategic civic philanthropy
- Invite technology leaders to generate ideas that improve mental and physical health
This list is just a start. What are your ideas to help improve your community's health by addressing health-related issues? Let us know in the comments below or reach out to us at dlftx.org.
*Post updated June 28, 2017
Published on June 27, 2017 @ 11:25 PM CDT