Meet Dr. Jerome Adams, a steward.
When most people hear the name Jerome Adams, they think of America’s top doctor – the US Surgeon General – who was on the job when a new coronavirus altered life around the world. But there is more to Dr. Adams than his response to COVID-19.
Growing up in poverty on a tobacco farm in Mechanicsville, Maryland, the future Surgeon General recognized the ultimate inadequacy of approaching health challenges one individual at a time. He began to see how whole systems, extending over generations, shape our lives together — and he dedicated his own life to becoming a steward for a healthier future.
During his tenure as Surgeon General, Dr. Adams repeatedly pointed to the strong, mutual relationship between community health and economic prosperity. He explained that thriving people are the driving force of a prosperous economy, and that shared prosperity would enable many more of us to thrive. The more he learned about this powerful two-way relationship, the more convinced he was that a formal Surgeon General’s Report would be a landmark in America’s quest for health, wealth, and well-being.
Official reports from the Surgeon General usually call attention to a specific threat (like tobacco) or to a healthy behavior (like physical activity). Instead, Dr. Adams wrote his report to bring health and wealth together – healing a fracture between two parts of a system that for too long had been divided. He showed how business leaders and community health workers could join forces to unlock a brighter, more equitable future for the whole country.
Dr. Adams invited ReThink Health to help write this historic report. ReThink’s contributions explained how businesses could generate greater sustained value for themselves, for the people and places they touch, and for the country as a whole when they work with others as stewards of the vital conditions that everyone needs to thrive (such as humane housing, lifelong learning, and a thriving natural world). Seeing boundless opportunities to enhance health, wealth, and well-being, one of the Surgeon General’s main recommendations is for every business to “foster a culture of stewardship.”
Released January 19, 2021, the Surgeon General’s Report on Community Health and Economic Prosperity is a living landmark in America’s endeavor for a thriving future. Dr. Adams used his passion for system change and the full reach of his office to become an inspiring champion for shared stewardship. His greater legacy will come to life as a rising cadre of corporate stewards expand the vital conditions that everyone needs for health, wealth, and well-being.
Read the full Surgeon General’s Report here.