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Healthy Communities and Purpose

I am thinking a lot these days about how we in healthcare reconnect our purpose to our business models.

In many professions, I think the business model is disconnected from the purpose model. According to Dan Pink, in his great book Drive – The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, when the purpose model becomes disengaged from the business model, bad things happen.

I think this is true in medicine. And it’s true in across our clinical, education and research work – our three-legged stool.

We worry more about rankings, listings, awards, papers and scores on exams than about how we change people’s lives to one of health, purpose, gratitude, meaning, hope and abundance. We do not recognize the value of building a true community at our business places. Instead, we often see people as a necessary commodity.

It is time to change this.

Like in Miley Ctrus’s song The Climb, it is not about getting to the top of the mountain, or getting to the other side. Life is all about the climb. It is the adventure of our lives, our deepest meaning, our best friends and colleagues, our families, our communities and our struggles.

How do we get back to our purpose and help people be healthy and live fulfilled and meaningful lives?

I think it has to do with identifying the few things that make the most difference.

One of these is rebuilding our communities – at home and in the workplace.

Tom Friedman wrote a great piece this week about A Road Trip Through Rusting and Rising America in the New York Times. He made the case that the difference between thriving America and failing America is the strength of the communities we live in.

He argues that healthy people make healthy families and healthy families make healthy communities.

I agree.

To do this, the change needs to be bottoms-up.

From community members for their community – reducing isolation and fear.

We have great coalitions in West Virginia doing that right now – from Sustainable Williamson to Try This West Virginia (their annual conference is June 2-3) to Celebrate Recovery to The Coalfield Development Corporation to EdVenture to Healthy Harrison and many others.

People in West Virginia are creating bright spots through their coalition work.

Heathcare professionals, more and more, are realizing they have a part in this transformation. We have of look outside the walls of our hospitals and clinics, and help support the grassroots efforts citizens are creating in our communities. When needed, we have to lead them. More than 100 doctors, nurses, therapists, and others will gather June 1, just ahead of the Try This Conference to learn from one another how to be a part of this movement.

Communities rich in purpose, love, hope, safety, meaningful connections, purpose and mindsets of abundance and trust – these are the solutions to our chronic health and opioid problems.

We need to spread this to all of West Virginia and beyond. This is manna for us as humans and nourishes the deepest part of us.

This is the basis of resilience at a personal and community level and is the foundation of better health, better lives and better futures.