Since June 2020, ten Indianapolis churches have been gathering virtually to share their congregations’ stories and support for health and wellness, along with local knowledge of health assets, partnerships and priorities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, community engagement for holistic health has been vital in the majority of African American neighborhoods served by the congregational members of the #HealthyMe Learning Community; an online community where clergy and health advocates have been sharing lessons and considering future collaborations to empower neighbors to connect to resources for their health. #HealthyMe Learning Community is convened by Good to the SOUL, LLC, and organized by the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute’s Monon Collaborative with support from the Indiana University Health Values Fund.
Health disparities persist in neighborhoods because community health initiatives often do not start with listening to the residents who know the most about local health.
“Being inclusive means you have to take more time,” Rev. Dr. Philip K. James, Senior Pastor, Mount Zion Baptist Church. “There are people who have consistently been left out of the circle.”
Relationships and trust are essential to building the circle of neighbors, congregations, community organizations and health care providers required to eliminate health disparities.
“Good to the SOUL has convened many conversations over the course of our company’s existence,” noted Rev. Shonda Nicole Gladden, CEO. “However participating in the #HealthyMe Learning Community has helped us connect with these ten congregations in such a deep and profound way. I believe the public conversation about the learnings will influence how community health partners approach addressing issues of health and wellness for years to come.”
All are welcome to register to attend this hour long session designed to share learnings from these ten congregations that can help promote wellness in local Indiana communities.