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A message from our president and CEO, Joe Sluka

Author: Joe Sluka, 8/1/2019 10:00:00 AM

What makes a person healthy?

Sure, health is about blood pressure and cholesterol, exercise and eating enough fruits and vegetables.

But what about other factors like housing, transportation and friendships? Do you think they impact health and wellness?

I was recently reminded about the importance of these social determinants of health in a profound way. I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon helping children with developmental disabilities learn to ride bikes through a program called Bike for Life. St. Charles sponsors the event, which is operated by the Central Oregon Disability Support Network.

About 30 kids spent a week at Elton Gregory Middle School in Redmond riding specially designed bikes that help with balance, while surrounded by physical therapists, special education teachers and other trained volunteers. The majority of the kids have developmental disabilities that mean they may never be able to drive a car – which could limit their ability to one day have a job or live on their own.

By learning to ride a bike, they gain confidence and a mode of transportation that will last their lifetime. They gain a way to get exercise and have fun at the same time. And, maybe most importantly, they get to do something that is a milestone for all kids and puts them on the same playing field socially.

Watching the smiles on their faces as they found their stride and rode in loops faster and faster around the gym was a highlight I won’t soon forget. Sponsoring this type of program is just one of many ways St. Charles is constantly striving to achieve our vision – Creating America’s healthiest community, together.

Here are a few other exciting things going on throughout the health system this month:

As always, thanks for reading.

Joe Sluka
President and CEO
St. Charles Health System