Changing the Conversation

Produce Prescriptions Program
Family Health Center, Waco
EHF’s Texas Community Centered Health Homes Initiative

Delivering health, not just healthcare in Texas

When you change the conversation, that’s when you change the system.”

Elena Marks’ presentation: Health, Not Healthcare: What’s the Difference?
Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy

Health and healthcare are not the same.

The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other developed country. You’d think that would make us the healthiest people on Earth. Yet when it comes to how long we live, we’re not even in the top 25 countries in the world.

While we spend the most on medical care, we spend far less than other countries on the non-medical factors that impact health like housing, poverty, safe neighborhoods and much more.

The opportunity for good health starts long before you need medical care.

At Episcopal Health Foundation, we’re finding ways to not just fund healthcare, but to invest in organizations that address the root causes of poor health. We’re using EHF’s resources to spark and support organizations to use non-medical solutions when non-medical solutions are what the situation demands.

Upstream solutions that deliver health are everywhere. We can see them only if we can unhook our minds from the belief that expensive, invasive healthcare is our best vehicle for delivering health.

We can deliver health by embedding a lawyer at a clinic who sees that a child’s illness is due to a landlord’s neglect.

We can deliver health by paying for healthy food, repairing street lights, playgrounds and building walking paths to address health issues pervasive in a community.

We can deliver health by installing a community garden to overcome mental health issues that result from isolation.

We can deliver health by supporting pediatricians in teaching parents how to build their babies’ brains for a lifetime of better health.

If we can target our nation’s vast resources toward real health solutions, there is nothing that will stop us from having the greatest health system in the world.

But it’s up to each of us to change the conversation.

Elena Marks
President and CEO

In Common 2018, Houston
EHF Congregational Engagement event

Re-engaging Communities for Health

Bishop of Texas
Chairman of the Board
With an average Sunday attendance of just 13, St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church in the small town of Hearne may be the last place you might think of as a catalyst of community health. But after the congregation and church leaders made a bold decision to name health as their top priority, their effort reignited optimism and healing throughout the community. Part of that work has been inviting residents to share their hopes for their town. The congregation learned that community engagement doesn’t just fix what is wrong. It also celebrates what’s already working. The church helped create an annual hometown festival, hosts monthly downtown events for residents and teens, and is working with other community organizations to develop a Health Resource Center for Robertson County. This is one example of what can happen when the Episcopal Health Foundation provides an initial spark to help a community organize and focus their efforts to have the greatest impact on the health of the people who live there. It’s what happens when we engage communities to take charge of their own health, help them become advocates for health, and adopt new ways of meaningful problem solving. EHF is reaching out to many different communities across Texas and we’re beginning to see change as we re-engage those communities to discover ways that we can help them address the specific health issues they face. It’s all too easy to step into a community and think that we see what is needed, but that’s not community engagement. We want to work with our neighbors and other community-based organizations to improve the wellness of our neighborhoods. And to do that means changing the conversation to addressing health from all angles. Communities, neighborhoods, organizations and congregations throughout the Episcopal Diocese of Texas have a heart for serving their neighbors, but many just don’t know how to start.  EHF stands ready to provide the spark to address health in new and different ways in your community.

EHF in the News