Smart, Balanced, Fair and Simple

October 12, 2007

Interesting article the other day by ex-VicHealth boss Rob Moodie on the future design of Australia’s health system – a recent topic of debate in the faux Federal Election. 

He wishes for a health system, rather than a sickness system – one that focuses on maximising health rather than treating illnesses.  I like how the design of that system needs to cover just four things; smart, balanced, fair and simple.  Smart in investing earlier in prevention and education strategies, balanced so it is not out of kilter like the US system, fair to address inequality, simple with fewer more integrated systems across the tiers of government.  I also like his use of the term diabesity that links the health issues of diabetes and obesity.

These four principles are excellent criteria to apply in any form of system design and I like it particularly because it does not mention cost.  If you do these others, then cost will look after itself!

Model of Behavioural Change

May 5, 2007

Last year, I came across a great little model of behavioural change that features 7 steps.   I’m not sure of the source any more than what I have here – would appreciate it if anyone can enlighten me. I like it due to its simplicity and that it starts with knowledge – this means of course that it misses the precontemplation stage of behaviour change, ie the original state.

It clearly shows the social role that others play in encouraging, stimulating, facilitating and reinforcing behavioural change.  While the model is simple, actually changing behaviours is not!  It also shows how many government programs aimed at encouraging behaviour change fail as they may concentrate on the front-end (educating or skilling up) but don’t follow through with aspects of social encouragement at the community level.

The model can be reversed to identify areas where behavioural change fails. behaviour-inertia-model.jpg

Each of these stages needs to be overcome as it could block the embedding of behaviour change in individuals, workgroups, organisations and societies.

MORE :  Some other people have blogged on these models include Jack Vinson at Knowledge Jolt and Lauchlan McKinnon who has a great blog on creativity and innovation in organisations.  Lauchlan sources the above diagram to Les Robinson of Social Change Media – thanks Lauchlan.

EVEN MORE:  And thanks Helen for pointing to the website of Les Robinson where you can go for more details of his updated change model.

Don Tolman on Improving Yourself Naturally

April 12, 2007

I was fortunate to attend a VPSCIN talk by Don Tolman recently.  He was a most impressive speaker as he related his life story that directed him towards how we can live healthier and more vital lives.  He gave a similar message to others that I have heard and read including Phillip Day, Sherril Sellman, Rob McIntyre, and Samuel Epstein as my family has been on a pretty strong natural health kick over the past few years.  We then went along to his evening session which helped sink in many of the points that he made earlier.

Some of the key points that I obtained from his talk included:

  • You have to honour your ideas – they are a gift and if you do not act on them quickly by writing them down and sharing them, then you dishonour the idea and its potential.
  • We are nothing but tubes and 90% of all diseases can be thought of as clogged tubes
  • Western medicine tends to focus on symptom management rather than finding and dealing with the root cause of illness
  • The healthcare industry uses the language of war and fear to fight diseases
  • The emerging revolution of self education and self care is coming but is still 20 years away from reaching a tipping point
  • To know, to do, to be – gnosis, praxis, entelechis – a never ending cycle of development and empowerment.  As we obtain knowledge, we are empowered to do, which then empowers us “to be” – lifting us then to a higher level of knowing and the cycle continues.
  • The importance of observation and more observation, a period to ponder, then reflect and letting a seed incubate until your imagination takes over and an idea is born
  • And his seven principles of health sound like a pretty good guide for longevity.

He made the caveats that he is not a medical doctor, that he is unable to provide medical advice, and that his views may not be true.  Despite this, his arguments and style of delivery were compelling.   He combined not just interesting views on health but also on using your whole mind as well, to think clearly and differently to the approaches that we are traditionally taught.

What I also found interesting about Don (apart from his dress sense and moustache) were the words that he did not mention.  Words like prevention and paradigm.  He talked about eating wholefoods to stay well and of his radically alternative views towards education and health that go against standard practice. 

I know that some people find this sort of material very difficult to comprehend; it goes against their belief systems and their reliance on the current authority structures in society.  But I believe his message of simplicity and self-education is right on track.  Ten years ago, I would not have been ready to hear the message, but with my own path of self-education, wider reading and even further wider reading, as well as conversations with key learned people, I now feel in a position to better understand the problems that we face as a society and the systemic issues that have been built up to protect key interests and retain the status quo.  We witness the growth in cancer rates, Type II diabetes, obesity, and the push towards certain educational styles that may not be well suited to the future jobs on offer and the life skills required.  It’s not until there are enough people hear the voices of people like Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) and Bill Mollison (Permaculture) – people that railed against the prevailing paradigm and were eventually listened to and acted upon once the weight of evidence and opinion tipped in their favour.