Want to be a healthier you? Holly Foreman has some advice:
Park farther away from your destination.
Find ways to move more throughout your day each day.
Eat more veggies and drink more water.
None of these are monumental shifts. But incrementally, Foreman says, those small, realistic changes lead to making healthier choices and developing a lifestyle of wellness.
And that, in a nutshell, is Foreman’s mission as the director of health and wellness at Shannon Medical Center.
Primarily, she is involved in community outreach in efforts that involve both local partners and programs designed to improve San Angelo’s overall health. She also writes grants and helps shape the resulting programming that meets those needs.
One such initiative involves what Shannon’s latest community health needs assessment identifies as San Angelo’s top health priority: preventing diabetes. That’s more easily done with Type 2 diabetes, which is often described as a lifestyle disease associated with unhealthy habits such as overeating.
While the situation is dire, Foreman reports San Angelo has available resources – educational offerings, programs, outreach and partnerships. Further, the good intentions of health-care providers are ensuring the continual development of more such resources to reach locals and improve the community’s overall health.
“If we can bring those together and optimize the work others do,” she said, “we have a great opportunity to impact the health of the community.”
Perhaps Foreman, 30, is optimistic because her own professional rise has bucked the odds.
She joined Shannon as a part-time staff member in a grant-funded program that was in a developing state of flux. She made a conscious effort to “be a sponge,” diving into the grant program’s 400-page manual of projects. A couple of months later, she moved into a full-time post. Not long after that, she earned her first promotion.
Leadership, she said, often involves flexibility, an openness to learning and a dedication to improving each day.
“I always say, if I’m not learning something today, then I didn’t do the work I needed to do,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to learn every day. Work with people, be a team player. That’s helped me along the way.
“Everything happens for a reason,” she added, “and I’m happy to be here.”
Her crusade in health care’s ever-evolving landscape is to get people to focus on small daily habits that can have huge repercussions years – even decades – later. In other words, people must become more proactive about their health and the preventative measures they can take to protect it.
“Our society is so used to reacting and seeking health care when we’re sick,” Foreman said. “We just have to make small changes. We don’t have to wake up tomorrow a totally new person.”
A former preschool worker, Foreman’s volunteer efforts typically focus on children. She believes they also may hold the key to improving the health of the community.
“There are so many ways to influence them and help them understand the choices they make,” she said.