Crucial Conversations

We had an outstanding first day in Southwest Virginia!  The first two sessions involved “Crucial Conversations” by Mr. Jeremy Johnson and the second was, in short, “Strengths” by Dr. Eric Kaufman, who was instrumental in doing the research to create the VALOR Program.  The focus of this writing will be about connecting crucial conversations to a scheduled Saturday lunch with Dr. Wendy Welch, an ethnographer, book store owner, and health executive in Southwest VA.

There is an on-going discussion about race in our country.  Here is a thought: one group of people was systematically controlled and destroyed for nearly 350 years, 1620-1964, approximate arrival of Africans to America and the Civil Rights Acts, respectively.   In other words, it took approximately 350 years for the group of people to be granted full rights by the Federal Government to freely participate in America’s concept of the “pursuit of happiness.” As a side note, when the discussion of “State’s Rights” arises it recalls a nasty time for some people (Jeremy Johnson’s wisdom of knowing the history before engaging in the critical discussion).  True, you do not need someone else faraway telling you how to conduct your local affairs.  Will the local affairs be evenly applied?

Here is the main point:

We toured DC Central Kitchen (Washington, DC) where meals are prepared for people. As we approached the food place, many “poor” people were waiting for food to be served.  Instead of waiting, shouldn’t they have been working to buy their own food?  Saturday we will visit the Remote Area Medical (RAM) in Southwest Virginia, a region known for abject poverty. Read this article from the Washington Post “The Terrible Cost of Once-a-Year Healthcare” prior to Saturday.  I offer these thought-steps as a crucial conversation starter:

  1. When you read the article, look at the title picture with the people standing and especially the man in the wheelchair with the cigarette in his mouth.
  2. Recall the people standing around the DC Central Kitchen.
  3. Question: If a DC Central Kitchen user should be working, then should a RAM user be smoking?


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