Non-profits as partners in health prevention?

non-profit partnering in your health

Most of go to the Doctor to get prescriptions for all sort of medicines to keep us health, but what if they started to turn the tables on us and put it back on us to do the hard work to get healthy?

Of course it is easier to take a tablet or two to ‘solve’ our problems but they are perhaps at best an illusion of health.

Tackling chronic disease through prevention and health promotion

I don’t know how many of you have seen the Ted Talk by Dr Rangan Chatterjee where he talks about a new approach to managing chronic diseases with a focus on exploring the cause of our symptoms. Some might say this ‘new’ approach is really preventative health at its best. So why is these such hype about it?

It might be because we have all gotten use to taking the easy option and ‘taking the medications’ as the answer to our problems.

One non-profit in US is tackling this issue of preventative/public health and challenging doctors and patients alike to take on a different approach to tackling health problems.

Making social prescriptions for health work – how one non-profit does it

Wholesome Wave is working to make it worth our while to eat healthier food! Who doesn’t love this idea.

This is work they have been doing for over a decade. The program which links to ‘prescriptions ‘ is the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription (FVRx ) program

Fruit-vegetable-prescription
Graphic courtesy of http://www.wholesomewavegeorgia.org/food-rx/

How can non-profits work to incentivize healthy lifestyle?

There are a lot of health professionals working to encourage older people to adopt health more active lifestyles but all recognise the barriers and limitations to keeping people motivated and committed. So what if there was a way that non-profits could help out in some way to incentivise such participation?

Non-profits place in prevention

In the Australian publication Preventing Ill Health the following schema or framework charted a path for prevention activities. In the HOW and WHERE of the framework there is clearly a place of community based activity and programs. So why shouldn’t non-profits consider a more active role in this space?

framework for prevention- screenshot-www.aihw.gov.au 2017-04-27 09-54-05
Courtesy of AIHW Report – Preventing Ill Health http://www.aihw.gov.au/australias-health/2014/preventing-ill-health/

Reading about the work of Wholesome Wave made me think about how other non profits might be able to partner with the health and medical community to offer preventative or supportive health programs aligned to their mission. But not just offer somehow incentivise or make affordable access to supporting or programs.

One Australian program that I am aware of in Australia is building on this model is Living Longer Living Stronger which works with doctors to match clients to professionals and programs that promote assessment and activity programs for older Australians. The incentive for older Australians is low-cost access to activity programs.

I would love to hear from some Australian non-profits who are doing work in this area or thinking about doing so – please contact me or leave comments. Lets spread the word together of what non-profits are doing to promote health lifestyles.

Thanks

Further reading

Preventing and treating ill-health – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

State of Preventative Health – Australian National Preventive Health Agency