Atlanta, GA: Fulton Community Commissioner Robb Pitts was at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Riverdale on April 28 to attend an Interfaith summit where he interacted with and addressed the Indian community. This event was organized by Dr. Nazeera Dawood from the Fulton County health department and coordinated by Prathap Singh.
Pitts reiterated the importance of health and prevention in achieving a healthier community. The highlight of the day among many other things was also the tour of the temple.
The summit entitled “The Ripple Effect: Integrating Faith, Science & Policy to Promote Health” attracted more than 100 diverse participants from all walks of life, and laid the foundation for a dialogue on faith and health and defined opportunities and roles to a healthier community. The summit was possible due to committed stake holders like Narender Reddy, Dr. Char, the Interfaith coalition team and volunteers. The grace before lunch unified the various religious messages to show compassion and care. Speakers at the session were subject matter experts on their respective fields such as reading food labels, health literacy (what did your doctor say?), financial literacy, mental health, cancer prevention and ending distracted driving.
Throughout the presentations and discussions, new friendships and partnerships were formed and everyone in attendance discussed the need to integrate and foster the faith community collaboration and partnering skills necessary to achieve the objectives of healthy communities. The interfaith coalition is committing to this health movement working alongside the faith community.
Initiated in March 2012, the interfaith coalition of Fulton County works under the mantra” Faith Communities United for Health: Your Body is a Temple”. The team is being led by Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness, Health Promotion Program Manager, Nazeera Dawood and Interfaith coalition Cochair, Rev. Mel Fareed. The interfaith coalition team combines their respective strengths and various ties in the community in order to enact policy, systems, and environmental changes to create sustainable improvement in the overall health status of families across Fulton County. All of these efforts are a part of the goal to make Fulton County the healthiest county in the state, which will be a great achievement seeing as though it currently ranks 29 out of 159.
The team, while still in its early stages, has begun the process of conducting needs assessment in their respective communities and creating a uniform identity. Now Muslim, Baha’i, Buddhist and Christian places of worship all have community gardens in their backyards. The coalition offers wellness resources for congregations, including wellness policies, nutrition guidelines for gatherings, and tips to encourage physical activity. Congregants are gardening, learning how to prepare produce, shopping at farm-to-congregation markets, and participating in physical activity breaks during or after worship.