Friday, July 11, 2008

The Idea Born on a Napkin

It’s been a dream of mine to create an idea designed on a napkin. A year ago, three GRMC colleagues and I were in California going through training at the Institute of HeartMath to become certified HeartMath instructors. Afterwards, we sat in a restaurant talking about this technique called HeartMath and how it could be beneficial to our patients and hospital.

The more we talked, the more we realized that HeartMath could transform more than just healthcare in our area, it could transform the entire community. I began taking notes on a napkin, trying to capture the great ideas created through this conversation. We kept coming up with ways to use HeartMath in the schools, with families, social and human service organizations, businesses, city government, law enforcement, and the list went on.

When we had finished, a project known as “The Heart of Grinnell” was born. This community-wide wellness initiative will bring together all aspects of our community to improve our health and quality of life. GRMC is joined in this project by Grinnell College, the University of Iowa College of Public Health, and the Institute of HeartMath.

The Heart of Grinnell is a five-year intervention study focusing on stress reduction through HeartMath to reduce disease and injury and to enhance health and our quality of life. It is easier and less expensive in the long term to preserve health than it is to cure illness.

Improving healthcare is an important national issue. I firmly believe that until we put the focus on keeping people healthy, our current healthcare system will simply not meet the needs of our country. In fact, our current practices may ultimately bankrupt the entire U.S. economy. Our current system is based on curing illness, not preventing it. The future of healthcare has to be about prevention and living well.

The Heart of Grinnell seeks to build a community coalition throughout Poweshiek County to include Grinnell College, schools, businesses, churches, social service agencies, local government, and law enforcement. Through this HeartMath project we will provide an intervention to not only study the effects of stress on our lives, but how well HeartMath can work to reduce this stress.

In the months to come, I’ll continue to keep you updated on this project. Right now, we are working closely with Sen. Tom Harkin for funds to begin our work. This project is included in the annual Labor, Health and Human Services budget for FY 2009. We’ll be monitoring Congressional activity on this funding and look forward to launching this project.

And to think it all started on a napkin….

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent GRMC’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This project would be wonderful in the schools.Teaching children how to deal with stress will produce better students.