Should Hospitals Model an Inclusive Healthy Community?

Oct 02, 2014
Tagged with: Should Hospitals Model an Inclusive Healthy Community?

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the concept of Inclusive Healthy Communities lately because I’ve been sitting in a hospital with my dad for the past month and have gotten to know the University of Michigan Hospital and central campus very well. The University of Michigan hospital has a program called “MHealthy.” which includes removing all  sugar sweetened drinks from the hospital dining and vending, having multiple MHealthy options in the cafeteria (which is open 24/7) and keeping serving sizes reasonable. The program also includes programs for patients and those who work at the hospital for Physical Activity, Weight Management, Mental and Emotional Health, and Tobacco and Alcohol Management. The whole hospital campus is tobacco free and there are lots of places to get outside and places to walk within the hospital. The University of Michigan campus has also  started using the modified “handicapped accessible” logo and has several examples of universal design.

Taking all of these things into account, the University of Michigan Hospital and central campus has at the very least a good start to creating an Inclusive Healthy Community. I think that hospitals are very well positioned to be the starting point for their surrounding communities to make positive changes for health. Hospitals not only have the knowledge resources, they also have a diverse population of patients and staff to provide input and feedback on programs and facilities.

University of Michigan is not alone in its effort to create a healthy living and work environment for their patients and staff, but I think its time for these programs to take the next step by extending programs out into the community. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has made a step in this direction by partnering with the grocery chain Piggly Wiggly to mark healthy choices on the shelves and bins, and provide healthy recipe options as part of the UAB “Eat Right” Program Every community could use help to improve inclusion and health and I think that local hospitals are well positioned to be the hub from which spokes can extend into the community.

How do you think local hospitals can help to improve the health of their surrounding communities? I would love to hear some examples of how hospitals are helping their communities to be more inclusive and healthy in the comments section!



UAB Eat Right

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Author: Susan Silverman

  • bobl07

    I pushed in a 5k recently sponsored by Children’s hospital. What I liked about it was the opportunity to network with other organizations who approached me about seeking ideas to bring more people with disabilities to this event. Also, some other organizations want to know how where to find resources to determine if their race is inclusive.

  • Elizabeth Vander Kamp

    Susan, thank you for your blog. I hope your father is getting better and that you are all right. UAB has also started an Institute for Arts in Medicine (IAIM) which seeks to provide art experiences for everyone in the hospital – patients, caregivers, and staff. I see this as another step in creating healthy communities. When people are engaged in a creative process, their overall health improves.

  • bobl07

    Elizabeth! Great to hear from you keep things inclusive at UAB. I hope to see and hear from you soon.