Who we are…
Amy: My name is Amy Collier, I am a Community Health Planner at Shelby County Health Department in the Health and Wellness section.
Angela: And my name is Angela Moore, also a Community Health Planner at the Shelby County Health Department, Health and Wellness section.
The MAPP process is…
Amy: …It’s basically a community-driven tool that we use to plan community health action types of improvements.
We do a lot of community partner building stuff.
What led us here…
Amy: My master’s is in urban planning from the University of Memphis. I was really interested in community development…
I was a little nervous about the public health approach, because I’m not a public health oriented person but I have a partner in crime who does that, too.
Angela: I’m very passionate about public health and health disparities type of work.
Amy: Here at the health department, they call us the A Team.
Angela: Yeah, and I call Amy the yin to my yang.
Amy: So, that’s us, your community health planning team.
How faith plays a role in my work…
Amy: We’re a government organization, so faith isn’t necessarily a driving factor in what we do, but it definitely comes up in collaborations that we have with other community partners.
Faith is inherently related to health in Memphis. You can’t really have one without the other, not in this city. It’s a unique thing about our home.
Angela: You know, a lot of our Memphians go to church, and so that’s one place that you can reach somebody is in the church. That’s, that’s a very good target population.
As far as faith in my life, I always listen to gospel music in the morning to make sure that my mind is straight before I get to work, and sometimes even during work just to relax myself. So I use faith as more so of the relaxing tool for my work.
That’s my mental health balance.
I define healthcare as…
Amy: The first thing I think of is my neighborhood. I think the local public healthcare system includes more non-traditional partners like transportation systems, where people get food, parks and recreation, all those kind of things that I think are left out of a traditional definition of healthcare.
Angela: We always assume that when we get sick, we just need to go to the doctor, get a pill, get treated, the end. But, I think of healthcare more so as a holistic approach.
Making sure they are able to prevent whatever things that are making them get sick in the first place, as well as, say going to the doctor, and feeling as though they have a say in their own health.
Having the power to change their own health, as well as, being empowered to.
One of Memphis’ greatest healthcare challenges is…
Amy: I think that community health can be really improved if it were better connected and coordinated, so that is one challenge.
Angela: Health disparities, and social determinants of health. I guess the biggest challenge as far as a social determinants of health would mainly be mainly poverty for Memphis. Poverty is pretty much a key determine of your health outcomes. Figuring out a way to target those vulnerable populations.
Amy: It sounds like small issues, but they are so big.
Angela: They are.
But what Memphis healthcare is doing right is…
Angela: Well, Memphis is on a good start, as far as this local food movement. I’m really proud of Memphis for this.
Amy: I think that that no matter what neighborhood you go to in Memphis, and in Shelby County, there is passion for health in some way.
I think that is what Memphis has the best of, we are the soul city of the county. We have a lot of passion here.
I think we just have to find ways to build on that and connect the passion together and move it in the right direction.
The biggest challenge in my healthcare work is…
Angela: I guess the greatest challenge is, because MAPP is a process, it is a tool, we don’t have the money or the authority to implement programs.
We may not be the implementers of that particular issue. It may be some other organization that has the expertise and the knowhow, and the money, to do that kind of stuff. I feel that is the biggest challenge.
Amy: We love to facilitate the MAPP process but…
Angela: Then someone else has to pick up and move it and do [it]. But that is the point of collaborating, and pulling your resources. We have to work together.
The greatest reward in my healthcare work is…
Amy: Rewards? I get to work with this character over here.
Angela: Yeah, it is so fun to work with Amy.
Amy: I think the biggest reward, especially as it relates to the MAPP process, is getting everyone to the table … It’s not just Angela and I in our offices writing up strategies and deciding what needs to happen in the county. …It’s actually a participatory process of community health improvements, so that in itself is rewarding to me.
Angela: You are actually, in a sense, rolling up your sleeves with everyone else to figure out how to solve a problem, and that to me is the most rewarding part of this job.
Amy: It’s invigorating
Angela: Yeah, it is!
Amy: In a weird kind of way that only the MAPP process can invigorate community health planners.
Learn more about the Shelby County Health Department MAPP process.