Better Health, Better Lives: Health Justice Team
Advocating, educating and promoting a healthful life for all God’s people!
Equity vs. Equality in Health Care
Many of us take our excellent health care system in Lincoln for granted. But why is there a 20-year life-expectancy difference between citizens who live in downtown Lincoln vs. citizens who live in southeast Lincoln?
That question is best answered by understanding the concepts of Equity and Equality. Equality means each person gets the same thing, whereas Equity means each person gets what they need. Think of it this way: if bicycles were assigned to citizens under a model of equality, each bicycle would be the same size, type, and shape. Under an equitable system, this one-size-fits-all approach is modified to meet the needs of the individual. Some might need a bigger bicycle, some a smaller bicycle, and some might need a bicycle with training wheels. An equitable system can bend to meet the needs of the individual, whereas an equal system asks the individual to do the bending.
The health care needs of Lincoln’s downtown residents are simply not being met. Those shortfalls may be related to lack of access to health care, preventive medicine, substance abuse treatment, mental health care treatment, nutrition, prenatal care, or a number of other areas within the healthcare system.
This spring we have been listening to the fabulous sermon series of Pastor Jed Linder, who has been teaching us about the book of Acts and the Disciples’ idea of “radical generosity.” “Radical Generosity” can be explained as choosing Equity over Equality. We learned that a true Christian community gives to others according to their needs, not according to their value. In an ideal Christian community, equity, not equality is both the goal and the result.
Interested in learning more about the concepts of Equity vs. Equality?
Here’s a great article by UNL extension educator Emily Gratopp, MS.
Healthcare Referral Resources
So what can we do now to ease the healthcare gap that exists in Lincoln? Here’s a list of referral resources that currently exist for all individuals:
a) The 211 helpline is a free service that refers callers to non-emergency health & human
services in Nebraska, including housing assistance, clothing, food pantries/meal sites, shelters, counseling, health clinics, employment, financial assistance, and transportation.
b) MyLink is an app (and website) which provides a comprehensive list of resources available in the Lincoln community, including food, housing, health, disability, children and family, senior services, LGBTQ, refugee, and immigrant, legal, prison re-entry, financial, education, military and veteran, recreation and cultural centers and transportation.
MyLink is available in multiple languages, including Arabic, English, Somali, Spanish and
c) Clinic with a Heart — clinicwithaheart.org — is a faith-inspired organization that
serves people who are uninsured and underinsured through a ministry of healthcare.
Volunteers provide free healthcare services, including medical, dental, chiropractic, physical
therapy, mental health, vision, hearing, dermatology, and spiritual services. Saint Paul UMC
is a sponsor of Clinic with a Heart, donating both financially and in volunteer time and
commitment to the organization.
Time to take a walk!
Dust off those sneakers for fun and fitness! Walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. It’s low impact, requires no gym membership or equipment, and can be done at your own pace and schedule. You can walk with a friend, spouse, or dog, with some good music, or in solitary meditation, contemplation, or prayer. Walking is an underrated form of exercise.
Click here to read “6 Common Walking Myths, Busted:”
Walking in nature has added benefits to improve your mood and reduce stress. Visit a nearby park or explore some of the 134 miles of trails in our city. Click here for an interactive map of Lincoln trails.
Or if you’re looking to challenge yourself with a walking goal, check this out.
However you chose to walk, it’s good for your body, mind, and spirit.
Watching the Nebraska Unicameral
Health Equity within our state is largely determined by legislative and financial matters. One member of the Health Justice committee, Steve Dunbar, is actively monitoring the Nebraska Unicameral and keeping us informed on their actions as it relates to health care. We must remain informed and involved to seek justice in our community! Watch for more updates.
Saint Paul Justice & Mercy Team FAQ
- Presence at the state capital for justice gatherings on topics such as immigration and racial injustice
- Representation on community partnership boards working for justice
- Speakers, classes and forums to educate on justice issues
- Preaching justice
- SP supports (financially and through participation) the Interfaith Peacemaking Coalition yearly workshop.
- We have placed yard signs in member’s homes which address justice issues to let community know we are sharing God’s Love for all in acts of justice.
We have gained new members through our efforts at justice as people have seen our witness with PRIDE festival and our rainbow banners outside the church. Each have told stories of their previous exile from churches due to homophobic or shame-based theology. They have found new life and new connection to God through the welcoming of Saint Paul UMC.
- Saint Paul has undergone a new visioning process with the guidance of the Unstuck Church Group. One of the areas of our focus for growth is in Mercy and Justice. We have formed a strategic planning team which will be leading the congregation into greater justice-centered mission practices.
- We will begin with a foundation of deepening our own understanding of lovingkindness. All justice work must be grounded in love (open hearts).
- Next we will educate ourselves and the congregation around justice and the biblical mandate (open minds).
- Finally, we will go forward into the world beyond our doors to do acts of justice (open doors).
Our strategic planning team has identified three areas for our focus: racial justice, ecological justice, and health care. Each of these areas will be resourced and ministry teams will be formed to engage the congregation in love, education and action. We will schedule our efforts strategically by launching one at a time and building support before adding the next.