Thirty years ago a groundbreaking report from the National Commission on Excellence in Education brought a national focus on education and the dire conditions of many of America’s schools.
Published in 1983, the opening lines of A Nation At Risk were direct and chilling. The report declared that “….the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people…If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”
Since A Nation At Risk was released three decades ago there has been an eruption of reforms and innovations in education in America. There has been progress, and there have been continuing challenges in our school houses. The debate continues on whether our schools are still at risk or improving.
But in health care, today the alarm bells are ringing louder than ever.
When we consider the health of Americans compared to the rest of the world, there is compelling evidence that we are not only at risk.
We are losing the battle.
U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health released last week from the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, describes a nation falling behind the rest of the world on a host of critical measures of health.
The statistics are sobering. When compared to 16 other “peer countries” with similar levels of affluence, the United States is at the bottom or nearly last in nine critical areas of health, including rates of infant mortality, obesity, and diabetes.
Young people in America fare especially poorly on many of these health measures. Our kids are more likely to die from traffic accidents. Our youngsters have the highest rates of teenage pregnancy . And they are more likely to acquire sexually transmitted infections.
Why is the US doing so poorly compared to our peers?
The authors of the study cite a number of key underlying factors impacting our negative health outcomes. We engage in more “unhealthy behaviors,” including excessive caloric intake, a major factor in obesity. Our relatively high rate of poverty imprisons too many of our people to a lifetime of limited chances to advance economically.
Care Ring recognizes these challenges, and we embrace the opportunity to make a difference in Charlotte in improving health.
Our clinic is for folks from all walks of life who have slipped through the cracks and need help and assistance at a reasonable cost.
Our network of allied physicians and dentists come to the table through Physicians Reach Out to provide a medical home to the underserved, creating a safe haven for those in need and providing more comprehensive and compassionate care than is available in an emergency setting.
And Nurse-Family Partnership drives at the root cause of many of our health disparities – providing hope and a plan to strengthen parents, improve the health of our littlest newcomers, and reverse decades of poverty.
The health of our city and the health of our country is clearly at risk.
But we know the solution to America’s health care challenges start in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our schools and in our towns and cities.
And Care Ring is on the front lines in addressing these challenges.
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