Health & Wellness

Written by admin   // August 15, 2010   // 0 Comments

Health: Personal, Family and Community Putting It All Together

by Dr. Patricia McManus, President, Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin

We have been on a fantastic journey the past several months.  For some of you it was a brand new way of looking at ourselves, our families and our community.

For others it provided some direction on what to do about health issues.

For some, it may not have provided anything new, but reaffirmed what they already knew.

And for others, it may have been seen as not useful, but you had to read it to determine that, so some of my goal was accomplished.

While you may not see my articles in the Milwaukee Community Journal, you will continue to see the other health information that has always been a consistent presence in the paper before.

It is hoped that my information has moved you to become more aware of health information in general.

The purpose of my articles was to raise the level of awareness regarding our personal health, our family health and the health of the entire African American community.

It was to provide us with information, but more importantly, it was directed at the understanding that we must be responsible for what happens to ourselves, our families and our community.

We need to research and understand the underlying causes of the health disparities that we suffer from.

However, we cannot use the information to blame others. We must use the information to make a difference.  This means we must:

1. Either make changes to or continue to engage in healthy behaviors.

2. Ensure that our families eat healthy,  exercise, and try to reduce the stress in our lives.

3. Engage in community activities designed to improve the health status of the community as a whole.

4. Hold health care systems accountable for providing quality care which is culturally respectful and appropriate for our needs, and…

5. Be vigorous in contacting policy makers and local officials to develop or enforce policies and laws designed to improve the overall health of our community.

This has also been a journey for me.  I told you in the beginning that I had weight to lose and to get in better shape.

Just losing weight without exercise of some kind does not automatically lead to better health.

I have been able to keep my promise about one small thing, staying away from fast foods.

It was one small thing but not easy to do.  It has been six months and I have been able to do it at least 95% of the time.  If I did eat something I should not have, I did not beat myself up.

I just started a new day.  It has resulted in losing a few pounds, but more importantly not gaining anymore.  It has also altered the way I react about food.  If I am going to eat certain foods, I am aware of it now.

I was not before.  You see, it is a small step but a beginning.  What have you been able to do?   I love this community and continue to be so proud of what I see us doing in the face of so many obstacles.

But that is who we have always been.  Not just survivors, but able to thrive in the mist of whatever we have to overcome.

Many people inside and outside of this community only see the problems.

I see resilience and strength.  Our community may have problems, but the “community” is not the problem, it is the solution.


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