Members of Leadership Health Care (LHC) celebrated National Public Health Week with a visit to the new Lentz Public Health Center led by Bill Paul, M.D., M.P.H., Thursday, April 9. The 106,000 square-foot facility opened in July 2014 and features a design that embodies the mission of the Metropolitan Nashville Public Health Department: to protect, improve, and sustain the health and well‐being of all people in Metropolitan Nashville.
Paul, who is a member of the 2015 Council Fellows class, first laid the foundation for the department’s work. Davidson County may be the sixth healthiest county in the state, but Tennessee is 45th in the country, and there is ample opportunity for improvement in the areas of tobacco use, child and family well-being, and behavioral health. He pointed out that social circumstances, including geography, heavily contribute to a person’s health and can lead to premature death.
“Neighborhood matters. There are four times as many premature deaths in some areas of the county than in others,” Paul said. “Health cannot be separate from living – we need to build opportunities to be healthier in our everyday lives.”
LHC members saw first-hand how the Lentz facility, designed by Gresham, Smith and Partners, incorporates healthier opportunities into the workplace. The third floor features a 1/8 mile indoor walking loop where employees can hold walking meetings or log exercise. An additional1/4 mile outdoor walking loop offers a chance for some fresh air and is open to the public. The building’s centerpiece, a three-story monumental staircase, is prominently featured in the atrium. When activated by movement, the stairs’ LCD smart glass disks change color, encouraging visitors to skip the elevators in lieu of the stairs when possible.
“Nashville is embracing this movement toward a culture of health,” Paul said. “The healthy choices should be the easy choices.”
“Take action, work together” is the organization’s view on implementing a community health improvement plan. The Metropolitan Nashville Health Department works with community leaders, schools, businesses and health care providers to assess the needs of the city, find programs and solutions that work and implement change. A campaign alongside Nashville’s major birthing hospitals to encourage breastfeeding by new mothers saw an increase of approximately 12 percent in breastfeeding initiation rates in three years. The department has led responses to public health crises, including the 2013 meningitis outbreak and 2010 historic floods.
Industry tours are part of Leadership Health Care’s regular programming for members. LHC also hosts executive briefings, a Fundamentals educational series, networking receptions and an annual delegation to Washington, D.C. To learn more about Leadership Health Care and upcoming programs, visit www.leadershiphealthcare.com.
Leadership Health Care was formed in 2002 as an initiative of the Nashville Health Care Council to foster the next generation of health care leaders.