Monday, August 27, 2007

something about work

so i thought i would just say a bit about work. as you probably know, i currently serve as the associate director for health in the center for faith-based and community initiatives at HHS. i split my time between domestic and international public health. my goal is to engage faith- and community-based organizations in all sorts of public health ways. religious leaders hold all sorts of clout in their communities and often can motivate behaviour change. i like to use this example: the surgeon general and the secretary of health and human services have been telling americans for about 5 years that they need to exercise for at least 20 minutes 5 days a week. not much has happened. but now imagine that your bishop, priest, imam, President Hinckley, the Pope, (whatever your flavor is) told you to do the same. i can tell you right now that if President Hinckley told the mormons to start exercising, there would be a LOT more exercising and lots of fat, middle-aged mormons would lose weight.

and what is cool about motivating religious leaders to do something for public health is that it is cheap. we, the taxpayers, get alot of bang for our buck. so this type of stuff goes on all over.

in memphis we were visiting community health centers. we saw christ community heath center and memphis health center. they are in different stages of organizational development, but it is always nice to see there are people geniunely concerned for the nation's poor and working hard to help people. it is inspiring. these centers are in rough neighborhoods and help homeless, uninsured, and working poor americans. it feels good to feel like we might be able to help them (and i think we can). you might ask how. well, it is mostly by liaising. the biggest barrier for people getting help from the federal government seems to be knowing where to go for help. i think i know where to point these folks, and i think that may turn into benefit for their communities. super exciting.

here are some photos:

this was just too awesome not to capture on film
a scene from the front doors of the memphis health center
not associated with the sign
please note the credit store in the back
it really troubles me that the poorer the area is, the more of these stores exist
i just think there is something sinister about making money on people's poverty

this is the building next to the memphis health center
this area is kinda like a ghost town
everything is boarded and closed
but that one store is for rent if you are interested

on our way to the airport we had about an hour to kill so we decided to stop by graceland
it was $25/person to get in so we didn't go inside
but man that place is a trip!
the demographic of visitors is like nothing i had ever seen
except when i went there with mandy and julie

this is what i look like at the airport coming home
dianna picked me up with my bike and cycling clothes,
so i went straight from the flight to an hour-long bikeride.

30 post landing
i eventually took the necklace off
we rode for an hour
dianna stopped to pee in the woods and got poison ivy on her right butt cheek.
then we ate delicious sushi at sushi taro--
thank heavens my barbequed pork sandwich days are over!

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