Taking "instant recess" breaks, planning to support employees during a stressful time and learning more about health services available at a church were among the ideas tossed out Friday as about 100 people gathered to talk about how to improve the overall health of the community.
Those presenting the Visioneering Wichita Health Alliance's five priorities — access, obesity and diabetes, mental health, oral health, and health disparities — didn't ask for an overall plan of action.
Instead, they asked those attending to come up with ways to focus on those priorities in their workplaces, in their churches, in the organizations they belong to, and in their own lives.
They also were asked to practice "actionship," a combination of action and leadership.
Among the ideas suggested by participants:
* At work or school, take five minutes of "instant recess" to dance or stretch.
* Be aware of conversations about unmet health needs; look for opportunities to spread the word about Wichita's safety-net clinics.
* Find out what your church offers in the way of blood pressure checks or other health services.
* At home, have policies on how long the TV can be on. At work, provide fruit for meetings.
* Price vending-machine foods according to number of fat grams, making apples cheap and burritos expensive.
* Look for ways to help those feeling the "day-to-day grind" that leads to mental health issues.
* Plan for ways to deal with times of stress at the workplace, such as during forced overtime or layoffs.
* Join the Healthy Wichita: Leadership by Example effort (healthywichita.com), sponsored by the Wichita Business Coalition on Health Care, the Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita and the Sedgwick County Health Department.
Participants ran out of time before they could share ideas about improving oral health, but not before the issue of fluoridation came up. It has been contentious in the past.
Wichita is the only city of its size to not fluoridate its water, leaders and participants noted, and H. David Wilson, dean of the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, turned to City Council member Janet Miller to ask why. The votes to do so aren't there, she said.
Deborah Donaldson, director of Sedgwick County's Division of Human Services, said plans are in the works to create a dental discount card. She said she hoped a pilot program would start in the fall, through the United Way Laid-Off Workers Center.