Directors from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation visited Wester Hailes yesterday to find out more about local partnership working around health issues and to hear about the Living Well Wester Hailes initiative. Coming all the way from Princeton, New Jersey, they are visiting a range of projects and services in Scotland focusing on innovative ways of tackling health inequalities with a view to taking back examples of good practice.
Before sitting down to discuss health care models in Wester Hailes, the visitors took a short walk around the area to get a better understanding of Wester Hailes’ past and present. They also visited the Health Agency in the Healthy Living Centre, before meeting up with representatives from the Wester Hailes Medical Practice, the Health Agency and Prospect Community Housing to talk in more depth about the efforts being made here to improve levels of health and wellbeing. Peter Cairns, local GP emphasised the importance of partnership working when looking at key health issues and gave examples of how a more preventative approach within healthcare can have wider impacts on community outcomes.
Whilst the two countries have very different health care systems, there was a shared understanding on the causes and effects of health inequality, and a shared aspiration to enable healthier communities. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation aims to improve the health and healthcare of all Americans and is committed to building a culture of health. They have been particularly interested in finding out about work being done in Scotland around improving health and well-being for children but also wanted to discuss working collaboratively with other sectors in seeking to address community health issues.