Dec 06, 2016

One Year Later: Reviewing the Culture of Health Summit

One year ago this week, hundreds of nurse leaders and others met in Washington, D.C., at the national Summit hosted by the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a joint initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), to celebrate and learn more about the Foundation’s new trajectory focused on a Culture of Health. We heard the RWJF President and CEO Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey exclaim, “Our nation can’t achieve a Culture of Health without nurses.”

We viewed this statement by Risa as a challenge to our profession—a challenge that recognizes the power of nursing and the opportunities our profession must seize.

Alexia Green leads a talk among Action Coalitions at Summit 2015The two of us writing on this one-year anniversary played roles at the two-day Summit and after. Alexia Green, PhD, RN, FAAN, led a conversation called “Integrating the Culture of Health Into Your Action Coalition’s Work”; Cole Edmonson, DNP, RN, FACHE, co-leader of the Action Coalition in Texas, has helped his Texas Team carry out that work.

The year since we were issued this challenge has required all of us to contemplate and integrate the Culture of Health paradigm into our Action Coalitions’ ongoing efforts to implement the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations in the Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.

Almost all attending the Summit were very excited to hear of this new trajectory for RWJF, even as we wondered how we could continue with our original goals (to achieve the Institute of Medicine recommendations by 2020 and beyond) while integrating these new Culture of Health goals. We were challenged to rethink how we could work with partners from other sectors and build upon our professional commitment to making individuals, families, and communities healthier.

Cole Edmonson speaking at the 2015 Culture of Health Summit

As Texans, we are proud to give just three examples of how the Texas Action Coalition has integrated the Culture of Health framework into our strategic plan, working with our 516 member organizations in new ways.

We have partnered with:

  • The Texas Health Institute in creating a culture of health for the aged by focusing on aging in place for older Texans. We are providing our nursing expertise and guidance in helping these Texans prepare for end-of-life decisions in terms of health care and legal implications.
  • Texas Health Resources and the city of Fort Worth in its movement to become a Blue Zone. Blue Zones Projects® are community-wide well-being improvement initiatives designed to make healthy choices easier. This partnership is working to encourage sustainable changes in the city’s built environment and social networks, such as work sites, schools, restaurants, grocery stores, and Nurses are helping people live long and better by supporting the principles identified during an eight year worldwide longevity study commissioned by National Geographic and detailed in the New York Times bestseller “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.
  • The Texas Nurses Association, a lead organization for the Texas Action Coalition, and the Texas Association of Business, a long-time member of the Texas Action Coalition—and Texas’ leading employer organization, which represents companies from the largest multinational corporations to small businesses in nearly every community of our state—in leading a new Access to Healthcare Coalition—formed to improve access to health care in the state through regulatory change and scope of practice advancement. Texas AARP is also a key proponent and leader in this initiative that will improve the health of Texans if successful.

Last December, many of you already had a foot in the door of this new Culture of Health paradigm, sharing your initiatives with your colleagues in D.C. This one-year anniversary of the RWJF and Campaign for Action celebration of the Culture of Health is a perfect opportunity to share how your Action Coalition has further developed and integrated the Culture of Health into your work. We  already know some of the innovative ways you’re building healthier communities through nursing. In Chicago, a nurse used her leadership skills to create a program that got unused hospital food to those in the community; and other nurses also look after the health needs of those who pick up the food. In Nevada, nurses are helping a community garden grow in an underserved area of Las Vegas. In New York, nurses are in the community promoting the value of nursing and encouraging people to take steps to better health.

We would love to hear what progress you have made! 

participants at the 2015 Culture of Health Summit

Top photo: Alexia Green leads a talk among Action Coalitions at Summit 2015. Middle photo: Cole Edmonson is among those volunteering to tell others about Culture of Health efforts in his state. Bottom photo: Among 500 people attending the Summit on December 2015 were nurse leaders from across the country.

Photos by Carolina Kroon/©AARP