Message from the President

A Gift of Health
by Loren B. Hamel, MD -- President, Spectrum Health Lakeland | Dec 19, 2018    Share

As we conclude another year, and as we enter a season of giving, I would like to invite you to join your community, and your team members at Lakeland, to help make our corner of Michigan a little healthier.

As you know, most of what we do around Spectrum Health Lakeland is health care. But traditional health care (doctors, nurses, hospitals, surgeries, medications, and more) is only a small portion of what makes us all, and keeps us all, healthy. 

If you’re following along here you might be thinking: “I know exactly where he’s going with this.” You might anticipate another encouragement to eat right, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and to stay away from tobacco. You might even think I’m about to give you a little lecture on the health risks of recreational marijuana use.

Not today.

Those things are called health behaviors. They are indeed important. But as it turns out, they are probably not as impactful on an individual’s overall health as something else.

Our overall health goes way beyond our ability to access high quality health care and our commitment to a long list of healthy behaviors. It is also very strongly linked to what are called the “social determinants” of health. If we are in the business of caring about the health of our friends and neighbors we have to care about those things as well.

Those factors - like income, housing, transportation, social support, education, access to plenty of fruits and vegetables, safe childhoods and safe neighborhoods, exposure to discrimination, and other things - play a very significant role in our overall health and well-being.

So how do we—an organization committed to taking excellent care of our friends and neighbors—get a better picture of what’s making us sick? What social determinants most affect us, our families, our friends, and our neighbors throughout southwest Michigan?

Every three years we complete a Community Health Needs Assessment or CHNA. I’m sure you have heard about it. The survey takes a deeper look at the various factors that are helping, and more importantly harming, the health of those living in our communities. Right now, Dr. Lynn Todman’s team is working to collect that information.  

Here’s where you come in. You not only work at Lakeland, but you are living within the communities Lakeland serves. Your opinion, and your voice, really matter. You can help make sure our survey is as accurate and inclusive as possible. You can help shape Lakeland’s strategies over the next three years to improve health across our region.

I invite you to participate. 

It is quick, easy, and confidential. You can complete the survey in a about 10 minutes. Just click here. Your views will help make your community healthier. The survey closes as the New Year arrives, so please take a few minutes right now to complete it. 

Thanks, in advance, for your “Gift of Health.” 

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If you would like to read more of Message from the President, click here

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