Health and Wellness Partnerships: The Key to Community Wellbeing

By: Mariann Hisel, Ed.D. MSN, MBA, RNC-OB, RNC-EFM, LCCE , Faith Community Nurse

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Health and wellness is fundamental to a person’s spiritual, physical, psychological, and social well being. The Health & Wellness Ministry at Fellowship of Faith Church, in McHenry IL serves the health and caring needs of the community by integrating intentional care of the spirit with health and wellness programs. Fellowship of Faith has partnered with Advocate Aurora Healthcare Congregational Outreach Program in designing specific programs to meet the needs of our faith community. The Congregational Outreach coordinator has valuable resources that promote healing through mind, body and spirit. 

Our partnership began by surveying faith community members regarding their health and wellness needs and or concerns. Ongoing program developments are based on the members’ response. Our goal is to bring free quality programs to the church that support health, wellness, healing, and caring while living out our faith by sharing God’s love of caring.

Our first health screening included a free A1c screening and heart health assessment. We screened 33 members for risk of pre-diabetes, diabetes, and heart disease. One member screened positive for diabetes and sought medical care the following day. The Health & Wellness Ministry’s goal is to make a difference in the health and wellness of our members. And on our very first day, the Health & Wellness Ministry made a significant difference in the future health of one of its members. This was a huge win for the start of the Health & Wellness Ministry. The wife of the screened member was so appreciative that we offered such a program that she became our “advertisement” for the support of future programs. 

Within our first six months we have offered programs on Healthy Aging, Bystander CPR, Understanding Mental Health and Stress Management. In our next six months, we are developing programs to meet the needs of all ages in our faith community. For our seniors, we are offering Matter of Balance, an eight-week course focusing on the prevention of falls. For our teenagers and their parents, a workshop on cyber and Internet safety. For younger children, we are offering The Pillowcase Project, a workshop to teach children emergency preparedness. In addition, younger children will be given new bicycle helmets that support bicycle safety. 

The partnership between Advocate Aurora Congregational Outreach and Fellowship of Faith is a Blessing. Working with healthcare partners offers a broader opportunity to reach the spiritual, physical, psychological, and social well being of our community, while living out our faith and sharing God’s love.