Hearts & Minds - Information for ChangeSM

Creative Ideas for Community Health

Here are some of the many ways you can use these ideas:

  • Brainstorm the problems in your own community and develop practical solutions.
  • Inspire and encourage yourself and your colleagues by the example of others who effectively faced similar problems.
  • Save time and energy with ideas that have already been tested and found effective.
  • Connect to the growing network of concerned individuals and organizations who recognize our problems and would rather work than weep.

Child Identification Tag Authorizes Emergency Medical Treatment
       Businessman George Wager designed a tiny identification tag to be fastened to a child's shoe or clothing. The tag is non-erasable and waterproof. It carries his/her address and other information including a parent's signature authorizing medical treatment in emergencies. (Minors suffer more than 20 million injuries annually, 8,000 of them fatal.) Without a legal guardian's permission, doctors may withhold or delay needed treatment.

       There was little acceptance for the Wager Lifesaver until 1986, when Readers' Digest published "Have You Tagged Your Kid Today?" Then, in less than a year, 50 million tags were distributed by Johnson & Johnson with children's medicine, Hush Puppies with children's shoes, and others like Coca-Cola, Kroger Supermarkets, Nordstrom's and the Minneapolis Police.
       SOURCE: "Have You Tagged Your Kids Today?" 8/86 Reader's Digest, Pleasantville, NY 10570, 1-914-238-1000

Local Media Promotes City's Pregnancy Healthily
       New Haven, Connecticut had the worst infant mortality rate in the nation (one out of every 59 babies died within the first year of life). Because of late entry into prenatal care, in 1986 the New Haven Foundation and the City of New Haven created a Special Commission on Infant Health. A Pregnancy Health-line was established to encourage poor women to apply for free pregnancy tests, so they can be directed to healthcare facilities that will assist them through pregnancy and beyond.

       In 1990, the New Haven media began a one-year public service advertising campaign encouraging use of the Pregnancy Health-line. The campaign was sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Connecticut, Decker-Rickard (the ad agency who did the creative work), Gannett Outdoor and WTNH-TV 8. The campaign included press coverage, public affairs programs, a booklet on pregnancy, public service announcements three to five times a week, two 12' x 25' billboards per month (in English and Spanish) and one 14 x 48 painted bulletin for the year.
       SOURCE: Gannett Outdoor of Connecticut, WTNH Channel 8, 119 Water SL, New Haven, CT 06511, 1-203-865-1177

Corporate Angel Network Flies Cancer Patients to Hospitals
       The Corporate Angel Network (CAN) matches cancer patients traveling for treatment with empty seats in corporate jets. In the first six years after its founding in 1981, the network enlisted 400 companies to fly 1,200 patients (each with an accompanying family member) more than 2 million miles at no cost to the patients. Founder Pricilla Blum, a former cancer patient, got the idea when attending a meeting of the Connecticut division of the American Cancer Society.
       SOURCE: 1/20/87 Woman’s Day, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 1-212-767-6000

Woman Brings Animals to Sick, Handicapped and Elderly
       Nancy Stanley, a San Diego mother of two, created TLZ (Tender Loving Zoo). She got the idea while working as a volunteer in the Los Angeles Zoo, where she noticed how handicapped visitors responded eagerly to animals. After moving to San Diego in 1982 she read an article about the beneficial effects animals can have on patients. She began taking her pet poodle to the Revere Developmental Center for the severely handicapped. Then she took $7,500 of her own money, bought a van, recruited helpers, and persuaded a pet store to lend baby animals.

       Soon requests for TLZ were corning from schools, hospitals and convalescent homes all over the county, and Nancy had to become a fundraiser to keep the project going. Most of the donations came from local businesses in the form of cut-rate gasoline, free repairs on the van, office equipment, T-shirts for her helpers and, of course, cash.

       TLZ has grown to operate full time with 48 volunteers and a 26-member advisory board. Each volunteer is responsible for one animal and works with patients on an individual basis, encouraging them to relate to the pet. Nancy has plans for similar organizations in other cities.
       SOURCE: "When One Volunteer Makes All the Difference," 11/5/85 Woman’s Day, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, 1-212-767-6000

       These are selections from a booklet summarizing effective solutions for Health Care, one of 20 pamphlets in the Community Action Network Solutions Library. Each booklet has dozens of effective ideas.

       Since 1985 CAN has been gathering information revealing what people are doing to solve the problems that plague their communities.

       Hearts and Minds and CAN are two independent organizations that collaborate to help people help themselves and others more effectively.

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online June 4, 2003,  latest text changes February 21, 2006

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