Everyone has something to offer

Humans are inherently valuable. Everyone has something to offer. Every person you pass on the street. Every colleague you encounter in a meeting. Every acquaintance. Each of them has value, and the value is inherent. Sometimes what can be offered is not obvious. It can be couched in or covered by fear, and when people are afraid, they struggle to be the best versions of themselves. When people are scared, they can behave erratically. But the value is there. I believe this about people.

What would it mean to live/work in an environment where people are understood to be inherently valuable with resources to give? How do we create a context that grows the abundance of human talent and energy that exists all around us?

This is what DSRIP is about for me: The creation of healing, health-promoting space that can acknowledge fear, help process it, and address the root causes driving it, allowing the individual to emerge with the incredible resources they offer revealed. How can we take our current structure, which focuses on intervention, and shift to creating a container that naturally, by design, promotes health? Let’s transform from clusters of healthcare providers to a health-promotion framework.

What DSRIP has done is give us the opportunity to prioritize what change is important and make that change a reality. I believe what is important is focusing on everyone’s inherent value. We all have this incredible opportunity to make real, positive, impactful, life-improving change. We can create a system where working in health care is uplifting, fulfilling, and energizing, where the system is simple to navigate, practically designed to make life easy for patients and providers, and to make improving one’s health a reality.

This opportunity is precious. We have so many resources to do real work and make real changes. But what does this even mean? “Patient centered-ness.” “Health promotion.” What do these terms mean for a Medicaid member? Do they mean evening hours at a PCP’s office? Maybe. Maybe they mean steady income with honorable, fulfilling work. Maybe they mean being treated like family during an office visit, or being able to get groceries without needing to worry about bus schedules. Maybe they mean having stable housing and housing that is clean and free of mold. Maybe they mean stable community connections that are nurturing, can support one even through crisis and prevent future crises from happening. Maybe they mean walking around one’s neighborhood and being edified by the environment or having easy access to fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables with the time and means to use them. Or maybe they mean being able to wake up sick, concerned, or with pain, and be seen the same day, even if you have not seen the doctor in several years.

People matter. Not in the abstract. In concrete, practical reality. People matter and they matter equally. And because all people matter, why not work to improve the health of the particular subset that faces barriers stemming from a lack of funds. These barriers tend to overlap in a knotted mess. Education, health, employment, income, environment, social connection, all of these societal components intertwine to impact human health, as health impacts these other components. This reflects social justice, or injustice. What we have is an opportunity to untangle the knots. This means unlocking the beauty of human potential and the dream of a world created when happy, fulfilled, healthy people can bring their full selves forward.

This process begins with being willing to change. To change the self and to change the every day. If you work in the system or are served by the system and set your mind, intention, and dialogue to focus on creating healing spaces for people who are scared, sick, angry, without means, or burned out, then you will see change and be part of it.

To me, this is the opportunity that DSRIP presents and one that I have embraced in my role as Medical Director here at Alliance. For our partners, what opportunities do you see in the DSRIP program? For community members, what other values should drive our work?  What is the change you want to see?

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