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Prescription for Wellness

The healthcare challenges facing our communities today require physicians to expand their focus beyond improving the health of individual patients. More physicians are needed to get involved in efforts to improve health in their communities. Physicians must be engaged in the prevention of illness as well as the management of chronic disease for all persons assigned to their practice. And, physicians can play a vital role to strengthen the health of the communities in which they live and work. Most physicians have not been trained to see the link between their practice and the health of the community; nor have they been trained to see their patients as partners in their health. This changing climate in healthcare provides an opportunity for physicians to rethink their role of patient and community health advocates. It provides physicians and community leaders the chance to learn to work together in ways that can lead to healthier communities.

Important Points

Policymakers and the public value the collective voice of physicians in health matters.

Physicians can exercise tremendous influence over the allocation of health resources by local healthcare organizations.

Young physicians with a positive experience who become engaged in efforts to improve community health will continue this throughout their practice.

Retired physicians have the time and capacity to share with their community.

Ethnic and minority physicians are most likely to return to underserved areas, thus positively impacting health access.

Goals for the Prescription for Wellness Project include:
  1. Identify and support a network of physicians serving as community health advocates throughout California at the local level.
  2. Provide training and technical assistance to support collaboration between physicians and community-based organizations.
  3. Increase physicians' knowledge and understanding how to work within the cultural framework in community collaboration.
  4. Increase physician and physician organization involvement in advancing policy solutions to the health needs of Californians.
  5. Develop a mechanism to link physicians and community members involved in efforts to improve the health of their communities.

Community Collaboration & Partnership Building
Through regional workshops, the Foundation intends to support practicing physicians and their physician organizations and local medical societies throughout California who are working at the community level to improve health. The Foundation can provide training and technical assistance in collaboration and partnership building for physicians and community-based organizations. These workshops will assist community-based organizations to strengthen their relationship with local physicians in their communities to improve health. Regional workshops will take into account population differences and differences in the experience level of physicians and physician organizations in working collaboratively with their communities.

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