The 2015-16 public affairs theme, Building Healthy Communities: Body, Mind, and Spirit, will serve as a vehicle for investigating the benefits, issues and challenges of building healthy communities, both locally and globally. The traditional interpretation of “healthy” as relating only to physical health is limited in scope. A more holistic view includes mental health and intellectual engagement, as well as an awareness of the role of spirituality in the well-being of a community.
Building Healthy Communities: Body
Can a community be healthy if citizens lack access to healthcare and nutrition? How can a community be proactive to anticipate and prevent growing health concerns? What role does technology play in promoting the health of a community and its citizens? How may community institutions (government, work places, schools, places of worship) work together to promote wellness? What role does public safety play in community wellness? What economic and social factors contribute to health or the lack thereof? Are the processes of building healthy local communities transferable to a global level?
Building Healthy Communities: Mind
To what extent are mental health needs a priority in the community? In what ways can community institutions (work places, government, schools, places of worship) work together to promote mental health and to identify those with mental disorders? How will a community benefit from providing access to mental health resources? What are the benefits of an intellectually engaged community? What are the civic responsibilities of community leaders to provide artistic, cultural and educational opportunities to expand the intellectual lives of its citizens?
Building Healthy Communities: Spirit
What is the role of religion in a healthy 21st century community? What is the distinction between spiritual and religious beliefs, and how can the community benefit from both? How has technology altered the traditional paths to spirituality and religion, and how have those changes affected the wellness of the community? What are the effects on a community as populations and belief systems become more diverse? Is there a distinction between tolerance and inclusion? How can the deep schisms that separate those with differing belief systems be healed to promote a healthier community?