It can be easy for those of us to work in healthcare – regardless of what setting we work in – to get caught up in the day-to-day demands of our jobs and fail to take a step back and re-energize and refocus from time to time. For the fourth year, the Louisville Health Advisory Board, led by Humana, took a day to do just that. On October 16, the fourth annual Louisville Clinical Town Hall allowed healthcare professionals to spend a day talking about a few of the biggest issues impacting the health of the community.
Although the word “clinical” is in its title, the Louisville Clinical Town Hall is a bit of a misnomer. It is more than just a day-long discussion about the state of healthcare delivery in our community. It’s about exploring the ways that Louisville can optimize the wellness of its citizens and their social determinants of health to increase quality of life indicators such as energy, strength of relationships, enjoying hobbies, and of course, avoiding illness. In breakout sessions, participants explored related topics, including:
- Building a Healthy Community
- How Policy Shapes Health
- Healthy Days and Social Determinants of Health
- Question, Persuade, Refer Suicide Prevention Training
In addition to giving participants a space to explore big picture ideas and strategies to optimize wellness, LHAB also brought in speakers.
Shelley Hearne, president of CityHealth, which assesses the country’s 40 largest cities in health policies, applauded Louisville for achieving a bronze medal in its health policy efforts and shared ways that Louisville could improve and join other silver- or gold-rated cities in the next few years. CityHealth reports on nine policies: affordable housing, alcohol sales control, complete streets, earned sick leave, food safety, healthy food procurement, high-quality universal Pre-K, smoke free indoor air, and tobacco. CityHealth’s wide range of wellness indicators reinforced the theme of the day of community wellness being more than just the absence of disease, but optimizing quality of life and place.
Louisville in 2018 earned an overall bronze medal for the first time, indicating they earned four or more medals of any kind (gold, silver, or bronze) in any of those nine policies. Louisville medaled in food safety, healthy food procurement, high-quality universal Pre-K, and smoke free indoor air. CityHealth will update its ratings again next year, and there was much discussion in the policy breakout group about where Louisville can focus efforts to earn a silver or gold medal overall. Most of the discussion focused on tackling the complete streets policy.
To end the day, afternoon keynote speaker Monty Robertson from Alliance for a Healthier South Carolina shared how his coalition of more than 50 leaders from organizations across the state have tackled health issues that are important for the wellness of South Carolina’s residents. Listening to his presentation reminded me heavily of the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative, which has a similar mission of coordinating the efforts of healthcare stakeholders to better the health and healthcare delivery of the community. Alliance for a Healthier South Carolina, like the KHC and like the theme of the Louisville Clinical Town Hall, recognized the need for the integration of mental and physical health in the delivery of health care, as well as expanding the definition of health to mean more than just lack of disease. The Louisville Health Advisory Board has shined a light on our need to re-frame what health means in our community.