Today most people consider good health and healthy living as accomplishments that are consciously chosen, or something that only those who are already fit can fully achieve. But imagine a culture that empowers everyone to live the healthiest lives they can, even when they are dealing with chronic conditions or other challenges. Imagine a health care system that couples treatment with care, and considers the life needs of patients and caretakers, inside and outside the clinic.
At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we envision a future in which we, as a nation, will strive together to build a Culture of Health enabling all in our diverse society to lead healthier lives, now and for generations to come. A central component of building a national Culture of Health is ensuring that the nation is prepared to care for every individual when threats to our well-being may be most acute.
When complete, a national Culture of Health will help to create a nation in which all people – whatever their ethnic, geographic, racial, socioeconomic or physical circumstance happens to be – live longer, healthier lives. Grandparents can stay in their own homes longer, contribute to their communities longer, and play with their grandkids longer. Our military can perform at its highest level. And businesses can rely on the vitality of their workers to stay competitive.
It will help to create a nation where promoting health is as important as treating illness. Where our kids can walk or bike to school safely, learn about nutrition by working in a garden, eat a healthy lunch harvested from it – and maybe even take some of the food home to share with their families.
It will help to create a society in which high-quality health care is available to everyone – where, when, and how they need it. A culture that values physical and mental wellness. And one in which medical providers serve as active partners with patients, families and caretakers, openly discussing the price and value of treatment with the aim of keeping them well and cutting costs.
Finally, it will create an America where the health of all of our children is a matter of fact and not a matter of chance.
Building a Culture of Health will take time, yet we firmly believe America can and will achieve this goal, and when we do it will help keep the nation strong, our people productive, and our future promising. We are all in this together, and RWJF promises to sustain our commitment to this vision until it is achieved.
To learn more about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s efforts to create a national Culture of Health, visit www.rwjf.org.