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Fixin' Healthcare

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - Bending Of Twigs And Growth Of Trees

An interesting, and perhaps profound, concept has been expressed by James Allen Smith, a philanthropic historian at Georgetown University - "It doesn't take billions of dollars to influence public policy. It can be done with tens of millions or even a strategically placed few hundred thousand."

The closer to the roots of any issue, the greater the leverage and the more profound the impact for outcome. It is a concept that begs for intimate knowledge of the root of any issue and a grasp of the potential for outcome. Either one of these is difficult to achieve and both are relative to what is possible to understand at a given time.

Pride and humility are intertwined with degrees of certainty. Understanding of potential is always limited at any given time but that does not limit the effort to achieve the potential. And, there is potential for an optimum outcome versus potential for a specific outcome.

To see or understand something that others do not see or understand might arrive in the form of genius but change comes as "a thousand points of light". More often than not, the most significant insights seem to suddenly appear everywhere, and on the surface they come across as "common sense". It is only much later when that beginning has changed everything.

Basic functions in society continuously encounter problems but they continue to be basic functions because they are essential. Health, security, education and integrity of the economy are examples. The genius of a society that survives is to solve problems which occur within basic functions without ripping apart the fabric.

It is not the spending of money that makes a philanthropic foundation a change agent, it is using that money to develop insights to the roots of problems, issues and basic functions of societies and defining the potential for outcomes. The capacity to direct the attention of society is the greatest asset resulting from the size and prominence of the Gates Foundation. Health is a basic function of society and a focus of the Gates Foundation. One aspect of health the Gates Foundation might address is the mind-set of health.

What is the outcome when a society thinks of health as the potential for well-being? What is the outcome when everyone in a society is educated to be healthy? How does a society reinforce personal achievement of optimum health while maintaining the capacity to treat sickness? How does a society prevent fear of sickness from overwhelming potential for health? How does a society achieve optimum effectiveness and efficiency for diagnosis and treatment of sickness without reinforcing sickness as an economic enterprise? How can a society render compassionate care for the elderly while maintaining perspective for optimum health status?

So many questions and so few current answers that have the potential for optimum health.

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