“Community is much more than belonging to something. It’s about doing something together that makes belonging matter.”
– Brian Solis, digital anthropologist, futurist and best-selling author

On a beautiful day in May, I had the pleasure of joining nearly 300 members of Columbus’ Near East Side to celebrate the opening of their neighborhood’s new community center. Located at 1600 E. Long St., The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Healthy Community Center is a gathering space that promotes healthier lifestyles for residents through cooking classes, exercise workshops, health screenings and more. It is an exceptional resource that will help make new connections for this community – connections to healthy habits, to health care and to each other.

That day, the pride and excitement emanating from everyone in attendance – area residents and Ohio State faculty and staff alike – was palpable. Our communities came together, and the result was cheering, laughter and fellowship. As I explored the building, I could see joy and hope in the smiles that stretched from ear to ear. It was electric. It was re-energizing. It reminded me just how much what we do in and for our communities truly matters.

As leaders in academic medicine, the Ohio State College of Medicine and Wexner Medical Center are committed to advancing health equity and addressing social determinants of health in Ohio and beyond. This is a critical pillar of our college’s strategic plan. Through our efforts in education, research and patient care, we bring people together to achieve a common goal – in this case, helping others lead longer, healthier lives. But it does not stop there.

Those healthier lives lead to healthier communities, which in turn become thriving communities. And when communities are thriving, positive outcomes – like economic growth, educational performance, resilience, quality of life and lower health care costs – are sure to follow.

The ripple effect of our service extends far beyond campus to communities big and small, near and far. Consider the impact our partnership with the Moms2B program is having to improve the infant mortality rate in Franklin County. Or how our providers are working with the Mid-Ohio Farmacy to connect patients to healthy foods across central Ohio. Or how our student-run Columbus Free Clinic continues to see thousands of patients each year, free of charge. And this fall, we will welcome the first cohort of our new Community Medicine MD Track, which will prepare our learners to care for people who live in rural and smaller communities.

Truly, I am so proud of the work we are doing to foster healthy communities and a more vibrant society. 

Carol Bradford

Carol Bradford, MD, MS
Dean, College of Medicine
Leslie H. and Abigail S. Wexner Dean’s Chair in Medicine
Vice President for Health Sciences, Wexner Medical Center