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Inspired Stories

Get to Know Life Inspired

Last updated: May 26, 2023

Everyone has a big part to play in their own individual health journey. Sometimes making small commitments — something that’s five or 10 minutes every day — can really have compound interest over time.

Dr. Zachary Baeseman, Family Medicine Physician, ThedaCare Physicians-Wild Rose

Chances are, you’re familiar with this feeling. You have the best intentions to make healthy choices. But life gets overwhelming, and you slide back into old habits. 

The last three years haven’t made that any easier. If this trying time has shown us anything, it’s that getting and staying healthy isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Healthy is hard. In fact, for many of us it can feel like a complicated mystery.

The “not todays” pile up quickly, and healthy feels too far out of reach for everyday life. It becomes easy to buy into the narrative, “I can’t.”

  • I can’t find the time. Maybe you have multiple kids in sports. And at the same time, you’re taking care of an aging parent.
  • I can’t get motivated. It can feel difficult to find motivation when life’s stresses and obligations pile up.
  • I can’t find answers. You may wonder, where do I even begin?
  • I can’t do enough to make a difference. It’s easy to tell yourself you’re healthy enough.

What happens to us collectively if we believe the “I can’t” narrative that we tell ourselves?

Seeing the challenges that we face as individuals and communities led ThedaCare to launch Life Inspired, a movement dedicated to creating a healthier future for all.

How We Got Here

To begin to unpack what led to Life Inspired, it’s worth looking at how we arrived at this state in the first place.

Individuals and communities today face a daunting set of health and well-being challenges. This puts people and society in a perilous position.

“Unhealthy communities face a bleak future,” says Dale Gisi, Senior Vice President of the Central Region for ThedaCare. “Neglecting health creates complex problems, making us vulnerable and putting all of us at risk. This impacts quality of life. It can lead to more illness and higher death rates. In short, it stops people from living their best life.”

These negative conditions not only affect people’s physical health, but their mental health as well. In particular, the pandemic has taken a toll on people’s mental health.

At ThedaCare, as of October 2022, approximately 1,000 individuals were on the wait list for behavioral health outpatient therapy services. Prior to the pandemic, that number was close to zero.

Beyond that, unhealthy communities can negatively impact quality of life. They can also put local economic growth and development at risk.

“Health challenges can make people less productive and less engaged in the workforce,” Gisi says. “And then our community resources are spent on health and wellness activities rather than on economic development activities.”

Conversely, healthier communities are more prosperous.

“When we impact chronic disease and decrease illness and mortality rates, we create environments where people and communities thrive,” Gisi says.

A Closer Look at Community Health

When it comes to meeting the health needs of communities, the work of ThedaCare always begins with the organization’s mission: to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve, empowering individuals to live their unique, best lives.

As a nonprofit hospital health system, ThedaCare completes a Community Health Needs Assessment every three years. ThedaCare works with public health agencies and other organizations to complete the assessment.

The data collection process includes surveys as well as interviews with stakeholders and individuals, including those within vulnerable populations. This work allows ThedaCare to identify the most pressing needs, and to focus efforts where they matter most.

“Our mission used to be just focused on health, and improving the health of the communities that we serve,” says Paula Morgen, Director of Community Health Improvement for ThedaCare. “But in recent years, we’ve added the concept of well-being.”

While most people understand what health means, the concept of well-being can seem less clear, Morgen says.

“Well-being is really about your self-perception: Am I living my best possible life?” she says.

When it comes to well-being, the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment found:

  • 53% of people are thriving
  • 42% are struggling
  • 5% are suffering

Breaking that down further, individuals who are thriving feel secure now and are optimistic about the future. Those who are struggling or suffering face varying degrees of challenges, and they tend not to feel hopeful about the future.

“The bottom line is that about 50% of the people we serve are in that space of either struggling or suffering,” Morgen says.

Through the Community Health Needs Assessment process, ThedaCare identified and is working toward addressing four community health priorities for 2023-2025:

  • Structural Priority
    • Regional alignment
  • Issue Priorities
  • Mental health and substance use: social connection, access, and support
  • Social needs: identification, referral, and access to services
  • Strong start to life: building a firm foundation from the beginning

It Starts with You

Going from “I can’t” to “I can” might feel overwhelming, but you’re not alone. ThedaCare is providing tools and resources through the new Life Inspired Hub, and we’ve made it easy to connect with a provider when you’re seeking care.

If you’d like to live Life Inspired, caring for your own health is a great place to start. That begins with prioritizing preventive care and staying on top of annual wellness visits and screenings.

“Everyone has a big part to play in their own individual health journey,” says Dr. Zachary Baeseman, a Family Medicine Physician at ThedaCare Physicians-Wild Rose. “Sometimes making small commitments — something that’s five or 10 minutes every day — can really have compound interest over time.”

Individual actions can lead to a big collective community change.

“People’s behaviors are a bit contagious,” Dr. Baeseman says. “If you live in a community that’s active, you see people out walking, biking, exercising, it becomes something that’s part of the culture.”

Ready to turn inspiration into action?

Tags: Annual Wellness Visits Healthy Living Life Inspired preventive care Screenings

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