Creating Conditions for Health is a Community Responsibility

October 2022


Everyone knows the phrase: “Without your health you have nothing,” and yet what does that mean to a community. The World Health Organization defines health as: “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being -- not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Coalitions, like SCHC, have  previously been criticized that we are often too broad in our work, and many would prefer us to cling to a narrower version of health—one rooted in biological basis.

Our health, though, is often significantly impacted by our environment, living conditions and economic status. We are only as healthy as our ecosystems. The conditions of our community, homes and body are all interrelated. People who eat well and exercise have been known to die from a heart attack, if under tremendous stress, and others deteriorate from loneliness.

This issue we call “health” is often complex, and our solutions as a society need to be resilient, innovation and contextual. There are some foundational health basics that we need, at a minimum; that includes: access to healthcare, the ability to understand the information around your health and its’ care, as well as how we address health concerns—such as access to quality care and the funding to pay for it. These three basic foundations do not exist for all of us and are most certainly not built to be equitable. Geography and resources play a significant role in health outcomes in Kent and Sussex County.

Our capacity to serve our growing health needs as well as shifting populations is strained at best.

In 2023-2026 Sussex County Health Coalition will focus on access to care, health literacy and health navigation through building a pipeline for Community Health Workers in Sussex County.

These strategic initiatives are about capacity, advocacy and partner engagement and alignment all are areas our Board identified as priorities. These, like the definition of health, are far too broad—but so are our coalition’s partnerships, and its understanding of our health landscape and its complexity. Sussex County Health Coalition does not exist to address only one health need. We exist to identify areas of need. We exist to draw attention to those needs. We exist to align  resources around those needs, and we exist to create the dialogue and information to work together towards solutions. We can ask, is a health collaborative relevant? I will point back to my opening statement:

“Without your health you have nothing!”

In this Quarterly Newsletter, we highlight several articles of the work we support, and thank you for all you do in your support of us and each other!

Peggy M. Geisler
Executive Director


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