From your center within

What values support community health?


When was the last time you reflected on your personal and our community values? Values are principles we care about that guide our behavior. Aligning our personal and community values with our choices provides a powerful positive impact on our physical, emotional, mental, and social health.
We are each invited to consider health in all aspects of everyday life, working life, family life, and community life. Absence of disease is not enough. How do we have values that support flourishing individually and collectively?
Let us consider some powerful positive community health values that cultivate thriving and wellbeing.
Compassion: affirms the importance, uniqueness and needs of all community inhabitants. The well-being of the entire population is a priority, and all people and living things are treated with respect. This reduces isolation by welcoming others into relationships and our society.
Inclusion: all people can be involved in our community’s spaces, places, activities, and events regardless of their age, ability, disability, income, beliefs, or ethnic background. Practice being thoughtful with your language, ask questions, remain curious, and challenge your biases and assumptions.
Empowerment: aims to enable people to take control of the actions and decisions that affect their lives and initiates greater individual and collective control. This emphasizes our shared common interests, concerns, and identity which is health promoting.
Collaboration: strong social ties within neighborhoods protect well-being by fostering a sense of teamwork and community care. Participate in neighborhood engagement and social connections. This creates effective relationships which improves outcomes and accountability.
Equality: everyone is equally deserving of respect and fair treatment. Even if someone has vastly different opinions and beliefs than you, you can choose to respect them even if you don’t agree with them. All individuals have equal rights, liberties, and status, including civil rights, freedom of expression, autonomy, and equal access to public goods and social services.
Excellence: every person deserves to have the opportunity to live their best life in communities that are thriving. This includes economic vitality, educational achievement, and housing which directly impacts community health status. This requires a high level of commitment among leaders across sectors and generations to take a systems approach to improving the conditions, outcomes, and resilience of their community.
Individual choice: provides autonomy and sovereignty for you to make decisions about all the details of your lives. We are each influenced by past experiences, cognitive biases, age, individual differences, conditioning, and beliefs. Your empowered and authentic choices optimally include consideration of the impact on others in your family and community providing mutual benefits.
Diversity: benefits our communities. Examples of diversity include visible diversity such as age, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities/qualities, and race. Invisible diversity examples are sexual orientation, educational background, religion, worldview, and work experiences. We can foster commitment to diversity through leadership, recruitment, workplace culture, education and training, equitable policies and practices, and regular feedback and assessment.
Family involvement: combines with community involvement to shape who we are, instill us with values, define what we consider to be normal and abnormal and teach us about what is possible and not possible. An example is parents helping with homework, community members assisting with school events or making decisions with teachers and principals about how to improve student achievement.
Integrity: is being honest, having strong moral principles, behaving ethically, and doing the right thing. This breeds trust and promotes health when consistently present. Consider a workplace that has a set of strong values and principles, such as reliability, honesty, loyalty, and trustworthiness. You can practice integrity by being grateful, communicating honestly, taking responsibility for your actions, respecting yourself and others, helping those in need without sacrificing your own health, being reliable, patient, and flexible.
How else can we positively impact our individual and community health?
Shop local. Engage in community planning, politics, and committees. Assure stable housing options and accessible and affordable health care. Enjoy, create, and sustain outdoor green spaces. Walk when possible. Infrastructure like street lighting, wide sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes, pedestrian-only streets, and clearly marked crosswalks make our community more pedestrian-friendly, and, consequently, health-friendly.
YOU are an integral part of our community health. How can you cultivate and support your community’s thriving and flourishing? You count. Everyone counts.


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