My son Jack is just a year old, but for my wife Andrea and me, he is the center of our universe. Our family’s health and happiness is everything. We laugh. We share. We play. And we love.
Jack is also my pint-sized daily reminder that healthy people make healthy communities. Good health strengthens families. Healthy people forge a stronger local economy. And healthy lifestyles give rise to a higher quality of life.
That’s why I’m delighted to report to you that we at Southwest Health are doing more with each passing day to create a healthier southwest Wisconsin. It’s our vision of the future – working with you and your family, with area businesses, with local governments, schools, community leaders, and with those who may need a little extra help – to find ways to boost health and help our communities thrive.
Of course, both nationally and locally we’ve met with success already, and we celebrate everything we’ve achieved! Today, people live longer than ever, and right here at home we have a remarkable health care workforce and amazing medical technology to help keep us productive, happy, and living well.
Yet, there’s much more to do. The death rate in the U.S. rose last year for the first time in a decade, due largely to more people dying from drug overdoses, suicide, and Alzheimer’s. The death rate from heart disease also edged up slightly. Here in southwest Wisconsin, obesity and smoking rates are above national averages. Our collective health issues too often stem from inactivity and unhealthy diets. Because so many of our ills are preventable through lifestyle changes, we all have a part to play.
At Southwest Health, we recently completed a Community Health Needs Assessment that identifies health issues in our region, sets priorities, and serves as a guide for our efforts. You can review that important document for yourself on our website at southwesthealth.org/CHNA.
Working together, we can and will improve health. Millions of Americans are alive today thanks to simple initiatives, such as vaccinations, safety laws, restrictions on tobacco use, and clean water standards.
Ultimately, what’s important to you is what’s important to us at Southwest Health. All who live in our region are connected. Like extended family, our many branches grow in all different directions, yet our roots nourish us from the same soil. We won’t take anyone’s good health for granted. So count on us at Southwest Health to lead the way to a healthier and happier southwest Wisconsin to benefit generations to come.