Family-Based Global Health by Elise Best
Posted by benjamincrookston on April 11, 2008
This past week I had opportunity to attend the first annual Mother, Child, and Newborn Health Conference at Brigham Young University. I was impressed with the breadth of the topics covered at this conference, but was especially intrigued by the concept of family-based initiatives that are currently being implemented in the Americas under the supervision of PAHO.
As the family unit serves as a place of learning and setting behaviors that will persist throughout time, it seems only natural to target families as a whole when trying to improve health behaviors among a population. It is within the bonds of a family, regardless of situation, that crucial health behaviors are molded and perpetuated whether for better or worse. Looking at a family as a whole, rather than targeting individuals, would seem a logical approach to cultivate improved health situations in communities across the globe.
As these family-based health initiatives are showing great success and promise in developing countries, the possibility of implementing the same types of initiatives here in the United States should be taken into consideration. In a country where focus is largely placed on the individual, an attempt to shift focus to the family unit and its potential influence on developing and sustaining healthy behaviors could prove to have great impacts on improving health conditions not only globally, but here in the United States as well.