I live 15 blocks from the house I grew up in, so I realize I may have a slightly different perspective about the notion of “community” than others.
I have a deep connection to the place my parents raised my sister and me and where my husband and I now raise our family. I devotedly read our community newspaper. As I drive through different parts of my community, I feel a sincere connection to all of the residents and worry about those impacted by our tough economic times. And, I also have a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for the places our community naturally comes together—such as our libraries, recreation center, and local, family-run grocery store.
My attachment to the notion of community is also fueled by the work we do at the Coalition for the Medically Underserved. Throughout our history, we have been working at both the policy and community level, serving as a bridge and catalyst to create needed changes to our health care system. Policy change is one thing, but change at the community level is the real measure of our success.
Aurora Health Access is an organization we have been working with for nearly two years. It is a shining example of a group of dedicated community leaders who are asking, “Can we think about health as something that starts in our families, in our schools and in our neighborhoods? Can we work with our local health care resources to ensure that everyone in our community has their health care needs met?” It is has been an exciting effort to be a part of and in 2012, we look forward to broadening our relationships with other groups across the state who are working to improve the health of their community.
At our annual conference in October, Dr. Len Nichols said, “Community is the unit of change for the future.” We agree and are optimistic about the changes ahead in communities across the state.