In 2016 NewStories, as part of our Strategic Convening Services, began an arc of work with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They asked us to organize a National Listening Tour to check in with people about how to create a Culture of Health. Our team went to listen to people in West Virginia, Cherokee Nation, and New Mexico, as well as Phoenix, Oakland and Stockton.

We were blown away. Everywhere, ordinary people are stepping forward, turning to each other, deciding what’s important and using what they have to make health in their communities better. They know what to do.  WE know what to do.  Part of what we know is that there’s a big difference between health care and medical services.  And because so many people have stopped taking care of their own health — for a whole variety of reasons — an unsustainable burden has been placed on the people and facilities that provide medical services.  What people at the local level know is that everything is related – unemployment, drug abuse, transportation, child care, housing, food access, economic development, nutrition, exercise, places to gather.  And all of these parts of the overall system of our lives needs to be kept in view even as they choose one point of entry to make an impact.

In early 2017 we will be releasing the report from this work and we will also begin to offer other stories of how people are stepping in to create more health and wellbeing.