Experts tackle health care issues at VillageSpeak forum

Given one dollar to use toward health care, how would you spend it?

That’s the question asked to a panel of local healthcare experts at the VillageSpeak forum on Monday, Sept. 24.

Moderator Dr. Scott Lindquist, director of the Kitsap Health District, led a discussion with Dr. Catherine Edwards of the Winslow Virginia Mason Clinic; Chris Martin, executive director for Airlift Northwest; Orlando Boleda, board of directors for Arms Around Bainbridge; Rena Beyke, managing supervisor of Bainbridge Island Ambulance; and Chad Solvie, CEO of Martha and Mary, a care facility for children and seniors.

The answers on where to put that dollar followed a theme: prevention.

“If I had a dollar and I was thinking of how to make sure my health was the best quality, I would invest in running shoes and walking shoes, something to help keep me moving,” Edwards said.

Her point was well-taken. Lack of exercise was cited by many on the panel as a considerable concern for people’s health. Simple exercise could improve health on many levels, and help thwart many health risks over time.

Beyke said she would put it toward home care and modifications to living areas to keep people, especially seniors at their homes as long as possible before going to a care facility.

Lindquist said he would put his dollar toward tackling hypertension, as it is the end result of many ailments.

The panel discussion was wide-ranging, from exercise to care to prevention. But the conversation went beyond putting your money where your mouth is — it also discussed what else to put there.

Lindquist shared a stunning example for the audience: Imagine they were a single mom who needs to feed her kids.

“I tell you that you should really buy organic fruits and vegetables,” he said. “It is a $1 a hamburger at Burger King. I can feed my kids on $5.”

“We have made the healthy choice the hardest choice,” Lindquist added.

The comment was met with nodding heads.

As with all VillageSpeak forums, it was a night of thought-provoking discussion and enlightening information. Lindquist also educated the crowd with health statistics for Kitsap County, such as the numbers of adults at a healthy weight (now worse than in previous years), and youth living in poverty (also worse than previous years).

VillageSpeak’s next event will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25. The forum will be a mock debate at Bainbridge Island Brewery in the Copper Top loop.

Debate topics will be moderated and the audience will take part in the discussion.

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