Featured Speaker: Troy Reece

Head for the Hills 2016 is only a month away. Here’s a summary from another of our featured speakers, Dr. Troy Reece, who will be offering insights on collaborative initiatives between medical and faith-based stakeholders. It’s sure to be an enlightening session!

Habit and Habitus:  A Faith-based Initiative

This initiative is based at Johnston Memorial Hospital. It is conceived as an ongoing effort at liaison with local faith communities regarding intra-congregational communication about health issues, specifically smoking and obesity. We believe that all religions, and specifically Christianity, hold that the human body is a divine gift, and that caring for it is right, and abusing it is wrong.  

The hope is that the prevalence of faith communities in the area, and the strong influence they have on the behavior of their members, combined with a faith-based approach to health behaviors could produce a “tipping point” in regional culture. Perhaps if the faith communities became more consistently active and involved with helping and directing their members in healthy behaviors (specifically avoiding tobacco use, and eating well and exercising); and particularly in ensuring that children are raised with this knowledge, it could engender a pervasive cultural revival.

Appalachia has a proud history of religious faith, bravery, self-sufficiency, creativity, musicality, and knowledge of the land. However, the local population is more static than in other parts of the country.  There are significant remaining subsistence behaviors (crafts, gardens, hunting). We think these characteristics prime the population for this change.

Our goal is to foster, in a supportive way, the spread of this aspect of faith through a number of participating religious congregations. We will not limit the effort to Christian organizations, but the fact that this area is predominantly Christian, and that the native population in whom the gravest effects of smoking and obesity are seen is overwhelmingly Christian will effectively make Christian churches the focus of the effort.

Registration is still open.

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