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A holistic view of health

Posted by Guest blog - Mary Anne Harmer at Mar 01, 2013 03:45 PM |
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Taking a broad view of environmental health impacts is a goal OEC shares with Oregon's Health CO-OP, the author of this guest blog.

As one of only 24 member driven health Insurance CO-OPs across the country, Oregon’s Health CO-OP is proud to join forces with the Oregon Environmental Council to help create healthy neighborhoods and communities that support livability. One of our founding principles is “Healthy Places = Healthy People.” This is the belief that peoples’ health is impacted by factors outside of the health system: things like clean air, water and reduction of toxics. All of these factors are, we believe, just as important to improving health as exercising and a healthy diet.

From the highest levels of our organization, Oregon’s Health CO-OP advocates for improving the health of individuals by understanding and addressing social determinants of health. In the words of our CEO, Dr. Ralph Prows: “The quality of housing, the quality of air impacts children with asthma…we want to do something about these contributing factors…and also, what about water quality, lack of sidewalks, and food deserts. How can we expect individuals to exercise and eat healthy with these realities? Our environment needs to enable health, and the CO-OP wants to work with OEC around this vision.”

Taking a holistic approach to health means looking at all the factors that impact our well being, and doing what we can as Oregonians to create impactful change. We look forward to working with OEC on environmental solutions that all Oregonians can enjoy and benefit from for years to come.  

Mary Anne Harmer is the Director of Community and Member Engagement for Oregon's Health CO-OP.

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