Partnership for Healthy Lincoln
We all have a bad habit or two. But what if everyone knew that the leading cause of death in America can be attributed to bad habits? As recently as 2013, the number one individual risk factor for dying in America was smoking. Poor diet and lack of exercise are also behaviors that ultimately make people sick and even endanger their lives.
Over the past 17 years working as a hospitalist at CHI Health St. Elizabeth, a large part of my time has been spent on treating the sequela of poor lifestyles choices like smoking and unhealthy diets which lead to chronic illness and eventual hospitalization.
For this reason, the Partnership for Healthy Lincoln (PHL) is an organization I am very proud to be a part of. PHL is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health through preventative lifestyles and health care for all Lincolnites, and I’ve served on the board for the past two years.
PHL works with the Lincoln Public Schools, the YMCA and other community organizations to bring wellness initiatives to our youth through programs like “Rethink Your Drink” (avoiding high-calorie, nutritionally-depleted juices and soda) and promoting physical fitness and good nutrition. PHL has been very involved in breastfeeding initiatives and breast and colon cancer screening.
The annual Streets Alive! Fair is a large outdoor celebration which is held in a neighborhood in Lincoln once a year and is supported by PHL. The streets are cordoned off and everyone is invited to enjoy entertainment, a fun run, exhibitions and healthy food stands – all with the message of promoting healthy lifestyles.
Working with the community to improve their habits is health care at its best. I love my service on the PHL board because it allows me to focus on the preventative side of medicine instead of on the treating side – and its impact on the community is exponential.
Living Our Mission: Partnership for Healthy Lincoln
What if health care professionals brought information and tools to the public to help them stay healthy, rather than having to wait for them to come to the hospital with an illness that needs treatment? The Partnership for Healthy Lincoln (PHL) strives to improve the health of all Lincolnites through preventive lifestyle education. CHI Health St. Elizabeth has been a long-time partner and financial supporter of PHL to help ensure our support of health extends beyond our walls.
This effort illustrates CHI Health’s commitment to public health and improved quality of life by delivering proactive and preventive health care for all members of our communities. As part of CHI Health’s mission to create healthier communities, we regularly connect with the public to expose them to healthy choices.
Importantly, we are proud to support the efforts that are truly making an impact. Since PHL’s work started in 2010, obesity in children grades K – 8 decreased from 17.2% (2010) to 15.4% (2016). They are not just working on reducing obesity, but increasing fitness levels for these kids as well, through families, schools and community efforts that encourage group physical activity.
I’m grateful for the generous financial support CHI Health has continued to provide for PHL and look forward to seeing these efforts grow healthier communities in Lincoln and beyond.