I had the pleasure of attending the Tri-Regional Faith and Community Health Summit in Atlanta, GA on October 3-5. The event was chock-full of dynamic speakers and informative sessions. Some of the topics included: the impact of institutionalized racism on health outcomes, the Affordable Care Act, mental health and counseling, youth engagement, and how to start a free medical clinic or farmer’s market.
I was the only representative from North Carolina; others came from Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. And aside from a few of the presenters not being able to participate due to the federal furloughs, the event went off without a hitch! I particularly liked being able to pick different “tracks” based on my interests. I participated in the one related to improving the health of communities at large, while others were interested in future generations, their own personal health or the health of their organizations.
Perhaps the one message that resonated with me most while attending the Tri-Regional Faith and Community Health Summit is that we need to show more compassion in our everyday work. We will never have enough money to solve all of the world’s problems, so we need to get back to the basics by loving one another and spending quality time together.
Speaking of quality time, I was delighted to attend the Denim & Diamonds Community Awards Reception as part of the conference. This particular event was hosted by the Georgia Diabetes Coalition and keynoted by Kendall Simmons, former NFL player for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kendall talked about his own battle with Type 2 diabetes and how the support of others has helped him manage the disease. Immediately following his presentation, this year’s Faith & Community Health Excellence Award recipients were recognized. I was proud to accept an award on behalf of the NC Council of Churches’ Partners in Health and Wholeness Initiative. Although my name was called to accept the award, it belongs to all of you – our congregations, health partners, funders, staff and friends! Thank you!
-Willona Stallings, PHW Program Coordinator
Partners in Health and Wholeness is an initiative of the North Carolina Council of Churches. PHW aims to connect health as a faith issue. Please visit our website to sign your personal pledge to be healthier, and to find out about grant opportunities for places of worship in NC.