United Church of Christ minister the Rev. J. Bennett Guess is one of 50 prominent national leaders invited by U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) to Washington, D.C., June 2-5, to provide input into the development of a national action plan toward increasing population health and community wellbeing.
Guess, vice president of the UCC’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries, is one of just two religious leaders invited. He is joining more than a dozen bipartisan members of Congress, and leaders in philanthropy, business, military, technology and local and national policy who are coming together to develop a set of strategic recommendations to promote healthier communities, improve health outcomes and lead toward true health and wellness for all.
Wellbeing In the Nation (WIN) is a multi-sector strategy aimed at stimulating community wellbeing and heathier people by aligning the economic and social drivers that are necessary for good health, organizers say.
Guess is participating in the third installment of WIN which held its first summit in 2008. Administered by the Samueli Institute of Alexandria, Va., WIN has fueled national and local conversations about what constitutes community wellbeing and population health, lowers health costs and empowers patients to take charge of their own health, says Wayne Jonas, M.D., the Samueli Institute's CEO and President.
WIN has played a significant role in articulating and shaping health care proposals enacted during the Obama Administration, Guess said.
“I am honored and invigorated by this opportunity to participate in these significant ongoing conversations about shaping public policy more effectively, fairly and inclusively in order to foster greater health and wellness in our nation,” Guess said. “On behalf of CHHSM, I am proud that I will be able to raise the UCC’s values of inclusion, equity, fairness and access into this process and the conversations we will have together.”
“I am also grateful that, as an openly gay person, I will be able to raise and speak to the specific concerns of the LGBTQ community,” said Guess, who also serves on the board of the National LGBTQ Task Force in Washington, D.C.
WIN Summit participants will be drafting specific recommendations for aligning social and economic assets to lead better health of the population and spread community wellbeing; develop an action plan for communicating their ideas to leaders of diverse constituencies; and appoint a leadership group willing to support this action plan into public policy.
The UCC Council for Health and Human Service Ministries includes 70 corporate members and nearly 400 member ministries across the nation committed to offering primary and acute health care; services to children, youth, seniors, families and persons with disabilities; residential living and affordable housing; and public grant-making.