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Our Vision: Wellness Within Reach for Every Member of Our Community

Osteopathic medicine looks at the whole person…body, mind and spirit. Doctors of osteopathy are trained to listen to and partner with their patients to help them get healthy and stay well.

The Osteopathic Foundation of West Michigan honors that tradition. When we embarked upon our strategic planning process, we envisioned a community in which every person would have “wellness within reach.”

We believe everyone should have access to the resources they need to thrive, whether that’s access to essential healthcare nearby or an aspiration for a healthier lifestyle.

To achieve this vision, we outlined a fresh mission statement and a clear strategic focus.

We are a community health and education foundation. Our mission is to measurably improve fundamental wellness in the Muskegon-Lakeshore area in the tradition of osteopathic medicine.

For our purposes, we are addressing four key factors of fundamental wellness:

  1. Access to Healthcare. A healthy community has benefits for education, employment, economics, and so much more. It’s essential for a community to have access to quality healthcare for it to thrive. Our efforts here are two-fold. First, we work to increase the supply of physicians and clinics. Second, we work to reduce the demand for care by helping people prevent and address chronic conditions related to lifestyle.
  2. Nutrition. “You are what you eat” is more than a trite cliche; research shows that nutrition effects everything from birth weight, to childhood behavior, to the way our brains age, and everything in between. But according to the USDA, significant portions of Muskegon County qualify as a food desert with limited access to fresh foods. Connecting people to healthy habits and better food — especially fruits and vegetables — can make a lasting difference in lifelong wellness.
  3. Physical Activity. Our bodies were designed to move and stretch, but our lifestyles are increasingly sedentary. Programs that encourage movement, activity, strength, and active play for people of all ages are key to developing a healthy community.
  4. Sense of Belonging. Mental health is critical to well-being. We believe the adage, “We get sick in isolation; we get well in community.” In a society that is more isolated than ever, there is a deep need to know that we are not alone. For example, a 2017 study published in the JAOA found that “individuals who workout in a group have a 26 percent lower stress rate and improved quality of life compared to people who work out solo.” Our grant funding prioritizes programs that connect participants to a group as they support each other in reaching their goals.

We are updating our grant strategies, educational programs, and scholarships with a laser focus on these objectives. We know that delivering on these strategies will create lasting and positive change throughout our community.

As part of this process, we are committed to deeper, more robust engagement with:

  • osteopathic physicians
  • children and youth who are learning habits that form a health life
  • like-minded partners who want to combine and leverage resources for impact
  • organizations making the programs and personal connections that are truly life-changing

Thank you for embracing this vision with us.

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