In cased you haven’t noticed, “total health” is a term we like to use a lot around here. It’s meant to encompass all the aspects of living that impact a person’s mental, physical and social well-being.
So you might suggest we’re really stretching things a bit when we link total health to…the economy. But there is, in fact, a very important connection here.
Community health and an individual’s health and well-being are very intricately connected. Communities that support health and prosperity – communities with safe places to walk and ride your bike; easy access to fresh, locally grown produce; affordable housing and strong schools – these communities create the conditions that support healthy people. They are also the signifiers of a healthy and vibrant local economy.
Thriving local economies help “create conditions in communities that give rise to health,” explains Tyler Norris, vice president for Total Health Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente.
Norris sat down with Michelle Long, executive director of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) to explore the connections between total health, thriving economies and community health. BALLE builds its mission on thriving local economies. Advancing what it calls a “localist agenda,” BALLE seeks to lift up the value of local community in driving a fair and equitable society. From BALLE’s website:
Localism is about building communities that are more healthy and sustainable – backed by local economies that are stronger and more resilient. It means we use regional resources to meet our needs – reconnecting eaters with farmers, investors with entrepreneurs, and business owners with the communities and natural places on which they depend. It recognizes that not one of us can do it alone and that we’re all better off, when we’re all better off.
The dynamic conversation on localism, economies, and health is captured in this recent article and podcast on Kaiser Permanente’s Share website.