AGH Eyes Health Partnerships

BERLIN – Atlantic General Hospital (AGH) and seven area churches have joined forces to offer free health management services to the community to help adopt healthier lifestyles and change the healthcare paradigm from “healing” to “preventing.”

These efforts take place in the partnering churches where parishioners are better able to access the resources. Educational sessions on healthy eating and exercise as well as regular height, weight and blood pressure checks will be available through the program, which is titled “A Vision of the Possible.” Each individual’s health will be addressed holistically, with mind, body and soul all taken into consideration.

To engage the community, the Faith Based Partnership has kicked off with a year-long weight loss contest open to all church members as well as other individuals in the community who would like to participate at the partnering church in their neighborhood. The percentage of total body weight loss by the entire congregation during 2011 will determine the winning church.

“Perhaps nowhere else is there such rich potential of primary prevention than in our places of worship,” said Gail Mansell, chaplain at Atlantic General Hospital. “Messages of healthy living, whether from the pulpit or via individual ministry events, go far in reaching people that might not otherwise have access or fully avail themselves of such prevention effort. Our Faith Based Partnership will be a new way to achieve wellness.”

The ongoing healthcare management services and weight loss contest are just the beginning for the faith-based partnership forged with Atlantic General. Over the next 12 months, the hospital will be building an interactive patient portal onto their new web site that will allow users to view test results, schedule appointments and even be in contact with their physicians.

“As we’ve stated in our community publications and presentations over the past couple of years, true health reform occurs on the individual level,” said Michael Franklin, president and CEO of AGH. “Our religious institutions are some of the most trusted organizations in our community, which make them the best partners for health care organizations to bring about health reform in our communities.  Our goal is to work together using our combined resources and technological capabilities to make a healthy, connected community.”

The partnering faith organizations are Coastal Sanctuary, Curtis United Methodist Church, Lighthouse Church of God, Ocean City Baptist Church, St. Paul’s by the Sea Episcopal Church, St. Paul United Methodist Church and Temple Bat Yam.