I would be negligent in this presentation if I did not acknowledge the limitations and biases that I know will influence what I recommend. There are probably other biases and limitations that my friends and family have not yet been able to help me see. I am a physician. That means I have been exposed to a reductionistic training program that taught us that there was probably a pill for every ill, and if not a pill, some surgical procedure.

 

Our current health care system deals primarily with physical health and most specifically with disease, with little emphasis on mental health and virtually no emphasis on social health. In essence, our health care industry could be better described as being a disease care industry. Recent data suggests that the disease care industry might be diseased! I hope I have learned to balance the medical approach with a psycho-socio-behavioral approach. We have called that combined approach to promoting optimal health - Wellness.

 

Because I have been a national leader in promoting wellness, I may have gone over the edge. We know that stress, lack of social support, smoking, substance abuse, illiteracy, violence, motor vehicle accidents, environmental factors, poor nutrition, and sedentary lifestyles are major contributing factors in disease and health care costs. These factors are also modifiable. But it will take a modification of individual behavior, along with social awareness and cultural change, to effect results. These issues are not just issues for individuals; they are issues for communities, schools, organizations, and individuals working in concert.

 

I am such a rampant optimist; I actually believe we can influence the future. OK, now Ive really lost all credibility with the realists.

 

I believe that we should, as Gandi said, Be the change you wish for the world!

 

I believe universities have an obligation to provide leadership for all citizens.

 

I believe what we do, speaks louder than what we say. See my favorite poem below:

 

I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me than merely show the way.
The eye's a better pupil, And more willing than the ear;
Fine counsel is confusing, But example's always clear.
I soon can learn to do it, If you'll let me see it done;
I can see your hands in action, But your tongue too fast may run;
And the lectures you deliver, May be very fine and true;
But I'd rather get my lesson, By observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you, And the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

Poem by Edgar A. Guest