Academic journal article Human Ecology Forum

Let's Talk about Health

Academic journal article Human Ecology Forum

Let's Talk about Health

Article excerpt

When New Yorkers who live in rural areas are disappointed with the ability of their fire and ambulance services to respond to emergencies, when they feel dependent on health care facilities hours away, Donald Tobias understands. When they struggle to deal with some social problem that manifests itself in a health issue, such as a high number of eating disorders or cases of sexually transmitted disease, he listens.

Then he tells them, "Talk about it." Talk to each other about what the community needs in terms of care, prevention, and education. Talk about what fits the community's identity. Then work on ways to get better health care, to deal with social issues, to connect with people in the community whose work is related to health care.

"Dialogue, meetings, sorting out what is important, making sure all voices are heard - this is part of the fabric of our nation," says Tobias, associate professor of policy analysis and management. "New York communities must figure out their health priorities and ask, 'What is it that our community needs to be about?' There needs to be a forum for these things to be talked about and dealt with."

If residents think they can get better care at a city hospital instead of at their own local facility, the community needs to examine why. Sometimes it takes a public relations effort to convey a health care facility's strengths to its own community or to get people to understand certain health risks.

To face health-related issues, Tobias says, New York communities must work through their health care network - patients, hospitals, insurance providers, medical technicians, for example - the persons and organizations in the community that can connect health care to the whole community. …

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