Health and wellness are areas that tend to take a backseat to the stresses of everyday living. We get so caught up in the “hustle and bustle” of our routines that we forget to take care of what matters most. We tend to stop and only pay attention to our bodies when something is wrong. Yet, prevention goes a long way to ensure that we live long and productive lives.
When it comes to health concerns, the biggest burden plaguing our community is a lack of awareness. One local entrepreneur aims to change that fact.
The Michigan Chronicle spoke to Loretta Davis, President and CEO of Institution for Population Health. IPH provides public health services to residents and visitors to the city of Detroit. These services include investigating and offering information about communicable disease control, as well as testing and treatment for STDS and such illnesses as Tuberculosis.
IPH services are not just reserved to adults, but also PEDS. In fact, one of its most important aspects is the WIC nutritional program. Many families drop out of WIC when infants pass the formula stage. The program however, offers useful benefits beyond that point and during the early part of young lives.
Davis called attention to the importance of WIC, and its promotion of healthy living for local families.
“Meeting nutritional needs prepares children for school, and helps prevent obesity.”
Many Detroiters do not realize that such support is available. We readily recognize the “usual suspects” that plague community health- ailments like AIDS, HIV and heart disease. Yet, the most deadly “disease” city residents face is a lack of knowledge about available resources.
“There are services out there that aren’t being utilized, and people would be surprised to know”, said Davis.
IPH helps educate Detroiters about these resources. The organization offers over 30 programs related to family planning, maternity and the needs of expectant mothers. Services are available to individuals who qualify, and especially those belonging to families most at risk for poor child development. Healthy living is a collective effort, and one that Davis feels must remain a top priority.
"We must focus on spreading awareness, and help people understand how they can be partners in their own wellness. Prevention is a partnership, and many people need support to do the right things.”
Davis also expressed that proactivity is the key to promoting and preserving good health.
“We have a system of sick care. We need to promote wellness.”
Proper nutrition is a critical preventive measure concerning overall health. It is one step individuals can take to help tackle would-be issues prematurely before they grow into larger problems. For many, the all-important question about food is “how do I make it healthy and taste good?” We live in a world dominated by poor eating habits. The pressure to make dinners and desserts just as delicious as grandma once did reigns central to ethnic households. Overeating and consuming too much of the wrong foods can be deadly. Yet, there are ways to eat healthy and maintain taste. IPH helps individuals understand just how easy keeping up a quality diet can be.
Along with promoting internal wellness, IPH works to preserve external factors influencing community health. Environmental and food safety are two of the organization’s most important functional priorities. IPH inspects all restaurants and indoor swimming pools in the city of Detroit. In essence, its work serves to benefit all local residents.
“There’s a myth that public health is just for poor people. But, it’s for you, and me, and everybody.”
Whether it be through the inspection of public facilities or its program offerings, Loretta Davis shares that the work of IPH extends to all members of the community. With a staff of over 200, the organization provides opportunities related to volunteer work, job placement and internships. Interested candidates are encouraged to visit www.ipophealth.org or call the Detroit office at 313-324-9482.
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