Why Did I Join IMPACT?
A couple of close friends of mine introduced me to IMPACT and how much they enjoyed serving. I wanted to fully immerse myself in everything UGA, and I signed up to become a participant. I decided to become further involved with IMPACT because of the impact (yes, pun intended) that it had on the personal growth of its participants. I saw how it opened people’s eyes to important issues that needed to be addressed, facilitated growth by starting a dialogue, and created friendships that made everyone feel part of a family.
Why Community Health and Wellbeing?
I was drawn to the Community Health and Wellbeing trip because I’ve always been fascinated by how little people – including myself – know about the healthcare system, it’s intricacies, and how it affects us all every day. I wanted to learn more about these topics and how equitable health environments can benefit us mentally, physically, and socially.
I got picked to be a model at a Turkish leather shop and strut my stuff in some cool leather jackets (yes, I will demonstrate if asked).
Second Year International Affairs, Ecology, and Anthropology major.
How did I get involved with impact?
My freshman year I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do for spring break, but one of my best friends suggested that I apply to go on an Impact trip. So, without much information, I applied to be on a trip to Philadelphia, PA, focused on Ability & Disability Awareness. What followed was without a doubt one of the best weeks of my life. I made so many new and lasting friends, we laughed, we cried, and we learned so much about the disabled community and their lives, it was a truly eye-opening experience. The impact that my trip left on me fueled my desire to impart a similar experience on other participants and people throughout UGA.
Why am I interested in my trip focus?
Community Health & Wellbeing is such a large and expansive topic it encompasses all aspects of life from education to reproductive health. There are so many aspects and views on all of these topics and they are such hot button issues in the media I am very excited to get a chance to dive deeper into these topics. I hope to both learn more about these important social issues and work hands on in the community through service.
I lived in a study room.
Key Terms, Facts, and the Issue in Athens and Nashville
Community health and wellbeing is a vast social justice issue that is comprised of many other, intersectional issues. To make this issue seem a bit more manageable and easier to understand, here are some key terms that are crucial to understand before navigating the landscape of community health and wellbeing. Additionally, we can identify 3 key attributes - connectedness, livability, and equity - that must be understood before delving into the layers of the issue.
Community Health and Wellbeing: the combination of social, economic, environmental, cultural, and political conditions identified by individuals and their communities as essential for them to flourish and fulfill their potential.
Connectedness: the fostering of connection and relationships through a community’s social networks; connectedness enhances social trust, fosters civic engagement, and empowers members to participate in community development.
Livability: supporting a livable community through the development of transportation, housing, education, public safety, human services, and other aspects of local infrastructure.
Equity: An equitable community is supported by values of diversity, social justice, and individual empowerment, where: basic needs are met, equal opportunities for education and upward mobility are provided, and all members are treated with fairness and justice.
Mental health: is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to her or his community.
Food security: People are considered food secure when they always have availability and adequate access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. Food security analysts look at the combination of the following three main elements: availability, access, and utilization of food.
Affordable Housing: Affordable housing refers to housing units that are affordable by that section of society whose income is below the median household income; additionally, affordable housing policies and regulations should address the housing needs of the lower or middle-income households.
Disability: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment
LGBTQ Health: the equal treatment of people of all sexual orientations and genders, as well as policies that address disparities in health outcomes for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Immigrant and Refugee Health: Immigrant and refugee health is centered around the development of: disease screening and treatment domestically and abroad, the response and tracking of disease outbreaks, advocating reinforcing and strengthening policy in U.S. partners to improve refugee health, and keeping open communication with immigrant/refugee groups and partners in order to continually raise awareness about relevant issues.
* While this is not an exhaustive list, this list reflects many of the common terms you would encounter in a discussion about community health and wellbeing.
- Approximately 24% of state prisoners have “a recent history of a mental health condition
- Approximately 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness
- African American & Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about 1/2 the rate of whites in the past year and Asian Americans at about 1/3 the rate
- Nearly 50% of youth aged 8-15 didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year
- The leading cause of death amongst of women is cancer, heart disease, and chronic lower respiratory disease.
- In 2010, 35.6 percent of adult women aged 18 years and older, or 42.4 million women, reported having experienced sexual assault, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime while nearly 6 percent reported at least one of these experiences in the past 12 months.
- Between 1990 and 2015, maternal mortality worldwide dropped by about 44%. Also, approximately 830 women die each day from preventable causes associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
Source: http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/maternal-mortality. https://mchb.hrsa.gov/whusa12/more/downloads/pdf/whusa12.pdf
- Around 15 per cent of the world’s population, or estimated 1 billion people, live with disabilities; additionally, an estimated 386 million of the world’s working-age people have disabilities, says the International Labor Organization (ILO). Unemployment among the persons with disabilities is as high as 80% in some countries.
- In countries with life expectancies over 70 years, individuals spend on average about 8 years, or 11.5% of their life span, living with disabilities.
- Nearly 40 million Americans live with a disability, and while there is little difference between men and women in the likelihood of having a disability, there are differences by race and ethnicity.
Sources: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/07/27/7-facts-about-americans-with-disabilities/. https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/resources/factsheet-on-persons-with-disabilities.html
Nutrition and Obesity
- More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in food deserts – areas that are more than a mile away from a supermarket
- Food safety awareness goes hand-in-hand with nutrition education. In the United States, food-borne agents affect 1 out of 6 individuals and cause approximately 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths each year
- Nearly 45% of children living in poverty are overweight or obese compared with 22% of children living in households with incomes four times the poverty level
- Projections estimate that by 2019, obesity will cost the U.S. 21 percent of our total healthcare costs - $344 billion annually
- LGBTQ individuals are 2 or more times more likely as straight individuals to have a mental health condition.
- The LGBTQ community is subject to many disparities and have a greater prevalence of: victimization, mental health issues, HIV/STDs; furthermore, transgender individuals are also less likely to have health insurance than heterosexual or LGB individuals which contributes to the possibility of future health complications/disparities.
- Several social determinants which contribute to the oppression and discrimination of LGBTQ communities include: lack of programs focusing on mental health, shortage of health care providers with adequate knowledge of LGBTQ health, and legal discrimination in access to housing, insurance, employment, etc.
Sources: https://www.nami.org/NAMI/media/NAMI-Media/Infographics/MulticulturalMHFacts10-23-15.pdf. https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-health.
This Issue in Athens and Nashville,TN
- A community health needs assessment of Athens has identified needs of the community i.e. certain issues within public health that need to be strengthened in Athens. These needs are defined as follows: access to health services, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental health, obesity, physical activity, and reproductive/sexual health.
- Overall, Athens-Clarke County ranked 14th in the state in access to health service; however, 23 percent of the Athens-Clarke County residents remain uninsured.
- In Athens-Clarke County, 9 percent of adults over 20 have diabetes, which is slightly lower than the state average. Additionally, 28% of adults are obese in Athens – this figure is in line with the stage average and only slightly higher than the national average.
- Athens-Clarke County residents reported an average of 3.7 mentally unhealthy days per month in 2010. This can be partially attributed to the median average income of ~$30,880 which is substantially less than the $45,886 state average figure. Additionally, the inclusion of the University of Georgia contributes to these figures. Finally, the ratio of residents to mental health providers in Athens (1,179:1) is much less than the state average (3,504:1).
- Nashville’s violent crime rate is nearly 6x greater than the U.S. – it translates to approximately 1153 violent crimes per 100,000 individuals.
- From a community health needs assessment, the most prevalent and identifiable public health needs in Nashville are: affordable housing, violent crime, food insecurity, mental health, cardiovascular health and cancer, HIV/AIDS, obesity, and smoking rates among others.
- Davidson County, the city of Nashville, has a 31% obesity rate amongst its entire population. This value is in-line with the national figure; however, the county itself falls 3% short than the state of Tennessee. In regard to high school youth, 16.9% of individuals are obese. This value is greater than the U.S. equivalent of 13.7%.
The following articles, videos, infographics, and images are provided to help anyone wanting to learn more, become more involved in advocating for equitable community health outcomes, and/or just wanting to learn about how to work towards a more comprehensively healthy lifestyle!
In this TedTalk, Mary Basset describes her experiences in Zimbabwe as part of a public health revolution engineered and motivated by a passion for social justice. She continues to describe how those lessons have helped her come to the conclusion that institutional racism and systematic oppression is the largest detriment to the success of our public health system.