KPCW | By Leslie Thatcher
The People’s Health Clinic was named as one of three Community Health Heroes from more than a thousand submissions made from across the country.
This year, for the first time ever, Reader’s Digest magazine launched a health-focused extension of a program it runs in partnership with Life Extension Magazine. The Community Health Heroes search was to find those American “heroes” who are committed to supporting and inspiring their communities to live healthier lives.
Selected from more than a thousand submissions, People’s Health Clinic was one of the three winning Community Health Heroes this year.
Phillip Smith, the editor of Life Extension magazine, was one of the judges who selected the winners from ten finalists. He says the judges were looking for people and organizations that are making an impact.
“I chose based on people that were making a difference in other people’s health and had really stuck their necks out to make a difference. That’s how I basically evaluated the candidates.”
“And in your mind, how did the People’s Health Clinic stand out?”
“They really were pioneers in taking a huge leap and realizing the need in the community that wasn’t being met and they rolled up their sleeves and made it happen which I think is very ambitious and very impressive,” he answered.
In 1999, a Catholic priest, a physician and a local businessman decided to hold a health fair out of a rented van in a parking lot in Park City. More than 700 people showed up – it was then they knew something more must be done for the underinsured in our community. 20 years later, the health clinic moved into its own permanent building and still has only two requirements for treatment: you must be uninsured and live in Summit or Wasatch County.
Smith says the clinic helps ensure a healthy workforce.
“What we overlook a lot of times in this country is health is vital – not only for people to feel good, but if you want people to go to work, to do their jobs, to take care of their families,” Smith said. “If they don’t have health, that’s a real problem and at Life Extensions, we really try and give people a lot of information and the tools to be responsible for their health and make a difference and hopefully don’t get caught up int the trap of catastrophic disease. I think that this clinic is really out there trying to get on the front line before people get sick.”
Other than bragging rights, there were no cash gifts with the honor.