The Shared Experience of Health

Living together as a community on Bowdoin’s campus, we all play a role in fostering the general well-being of the people around us – our fellow students, faculty, staff, and even visitors to the College. Having lived (at the very least) for a few months in our little microcosm may have left us with some sense of this interconnectivity. The ways and the extent to which we influence the health of our peers may sometimes be obvious, and sometimes a little more tricky to discern.

Check out this awesome article from the Atlantic that discusses the conception of health as “a shared experience.” Studies are showing that the rigid expectations of health individualism that have been ingrained in us since the first day we were allowed to have a physical without our parent or guardian in the room may not be the most productive way to frame health care. This is because certain health issues – think: smoking cessation, alcohol use, medication regimens, physical activity – are often experienced in communal settings. That is, the aforementioned health issues can affect or be affected by more than just the individual patient. This means that in terms of health care, there is a difference between treating a broken ankle and a tobacco addiction. For the latter, the community can be a helpful way to enhance care, improve accountability, support management of health conditions, and more.

As members of such a small and tightknit community, we all have a part to play in making sure each person on our campus can be as healthy as possible, even if that role isn’t always apparent. Click on the link to the article below if you’d like to find out more about what the “shared experience of health” can look like!