By Valerie Bell '20
The group was initially asked to define health and we discussed it being state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.
Dr. Sally Kraft was our first speaker discussing how to heal our communities. We were given a scenario and debated health vs. healthcare. We learned that health is really only impacted 20% by clinical care and the remaining 80% is influenced by social effects. Education levels, where you live, having a home, wealth and social isolation are all determinates of health and have profound effects on life expectancy and infant mortality.
The Honorable John T. Broderick Jr. was our second speaker. He spoke from the heart about his family’s struggle with mental health disorders and addiction. The message was clear that we need to change the culture around mental health and discuss them without shame or guilt so that help can be given. He asked the group to spread the word about the 5 signs of mental illness to recognize and how to help others with this struggle.
Dr. Trinidad Tellez spoke about Health Equity (A fair and just opportunity for EVERYONE to be as healthy as they possibly can). We had learned through the PBS documentary “In Sickness and in Wealth” how social and economic inequalities and the environment around a person can have profound effects on their health. Dr. Tellez discussed how data is needed in our state to promote equity by focusing on the areas more in need.
Lisa Guertin and Lucy Hodder spoke to us about the health insurance perspective. It is astonishing that over 50% of costs to insurance companies is for 15% of the population that have 6 or more co-morbidities. The rising costs of insurance puts a strain on the individuals of our state who already struggle to pay for high premiums and co-pays. Medicaid reimbursement in New Hampshire is one of the lowest in our country.
Finally, Peter Ames had us pick a community health concern we were most passionate about and each group discussed their concerns and offered up some solutions.