Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

I recently attended the annual School Health Association Meeting in Orlando, Florida, where I presented some of the work from our PRC’s School Salad Bar Evaluation. In my opinion, though, the highlight of the meeting was the exhilarating and motivating presentation by Dr. Ken Ginsburg, MD, MS Ed, titled "Resilience in Action." Although the purpose was to provide adults with the information and skills to prepare children to thrive, I was immediately struck by how relevant the information was for me and for all of us. How do we define success? It isn't the buildings or the programs that matter; it is the people that matter. When we feel valued, when we are seen as the experts on our own lives, when our opinions matter, when we can be instructive and supportive of each other, and when we understand that fear provides us with opportunities – opportunities to cope and to grow; when we can view our day-to-day experiences in a positive light – is that success? You bet! But what happens when bad stuff comes along? What is resilience? The ability to overcome adversity; the capacity to bounce back. Resilience is a mindset – it is NOT a temperament or personality trait, it is NOT invulnerability. Dr. Ginsburg provided the 7 C's of Resilience: Confidence; Competence; Connection; Character; Contribution; Coping; Control. Gosh, these are some heavy words, but, I thought, if each of us could work on developing each of these C's, at least to some degree, and in some or most circumstances, we would indeed be able to overcome, we would indeed be able to bounce back. Now, what does all of this have to do with health? Each and every one of us strives all day long every day to nourish and maintain a healthy body with which to function – to eat, to play, to laugh, to cry, to love, to resolve anger, to reach out, to nurture friendships, to support and to comfort. We do this every day, and every day that we can still function in a healthy body, then we are successful, we are resilient. And, gosh, don't we feel great!

Carolyn C. Johnson, PhD, FAAHB
Director, Tulane Prevention Research Center
Read Dr. Johnson’s bio

Topics:   community health , school health

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