United Healthcare hosted its A Better You health and wellness education program in Atlanta on Sept. 10 to help African Americans ages 60 and above and other Medicare beneficiaries learn more about Medicare and their health care coverage options. The next event will be on Sept. 17 in Houston.
Rev. Telley Lynnette Gadson joins A Better You to share her lifelong battle with obesity and her weight loss journey, and United Healthcare’s Rita Tolbert will facilitate the Medicare education portion of the events. Both spoke with rolling out about the program.
What is this experience about?
Rita Tolbert: It’s an initiative to continue to bring information and empower our communities about health education. It’s important to speak about Medicare, and those who are entering that space and to help to demystify some of the information around it because people get easily confused. We’re here to try to present that information because we know how critical it is to health literacy. Health literacy is one of our pillars at UnitedHealthcare in terms of trying to make sure that we are bringing health equity to all communities of color who have not in the past had the same access to health care. This is an initiative that we partner with the United Methodist Church that is really aligned with their mission as well as our mission, which is to help people live healthier lives and to help the health system work better for everyone.
How can health conversations become beneficial in the church?
Telley Gadson: The Bible says, “What good is it for somebody to gain the world and lose their soul?” So I would paraphrase and say “What good is to have all of the book knowledge in the world and have no wisdom on how to use it? What good is it to pray for good health if we’re not going to engage the words of the text that tells us faith without work is dead.” For me, it’s very personal. In addition to both my mother and father having serious and delicate health conditions, I am a survivor of lifelong obesity.
I’m also a survivor of depression and anxiety. It’s important to think that as we stand on platforms, as we enjoy the privileges of our titles and positions, we speak truth to power, and are able to say, “I didn’t always get this thing. I didn’t always love to drink eight bottles of water a day. I didn’t always have a body, that breathed exercise. But now that I’m here, I got to help some other people get there.” So speaking the language, being transparent, and saying, “All of us are broken, we need help.” God has placed people like Rita Tolbert, and UnitedHealthcare on the Earth to help us to get to where we need to be.