Looking back on the history that laid the foundation for the greatest era of wealth creation in world history, the 1960’s stands out for establishing foundational public health and education institutions. These programs were designed to serve linear expectations in a single-dimension model. The post-WWII generation was healthy, hungry for education, eager to work, and made transformational discoveries that opened the door to the empowerment of middle-class success stories that lasted throughout the 20th century. Quality healthcare for all was perceived to be the fundamental right of all citizens, leading to establishment of Medicare to serve the needs of the seniors and Medicaid to serve the low-income population. Public schools and universities ramped up to serve a rapidly evolving manufacturing sector driven by Moore’s law, that evolved into service and technology driven economic drivers that dominated the world stage positioning the USA as an altruistically driven nation. Our health and educations systems were designed to address the most challenging health problems and were committed to providing the highest quality education for all with our public institutions, because we could afford it.
Fast forward two decades into the 21st Century. We are dealing with health, education, and income domain disparities that are accelerating at a relentless pace, forcing our communities to re-evaluate our approach to these domains and their effectiveness. Even as we mastered heart, lung, and brain surgery, our community focus is on diabetes, obesity, and a hypertension plague that is taking years of life away from the youth and the seniors, creating an unaffordable burden on our society. On a parallel track with health is the public education system that launched some of the brightest minds of the 20th Century is now burdened by the responsibility to lift a failing population that is unable to participate in the 21st Century wealth creation. This requires a multi-dimensional, non-linear effort to bring about that systemic change that lifts the entire community into an aligned environment to deliver a better quality of life for all.
Health, Education, Careers, and Community Services are the four dimensions of the community that are required to be engaged in a non-linear logic that emphasizes value creation with the sum of it all greater than the individual institutional efforts. To improve health outcomes, education, career and earning capabilities play a role. To strengthen education outcomes, health, career and earning management is critical. To deliver career effectiveness, health, education and earning skills are fundamental drivers.
In every community, the four domains need to align on the community-centric priorities with a non-linear, multi-domain engagement strategy to deliver on the promise of quality life for all. It is time to keep the promise! Let’s get to work.