Hero Health


Tribal Healing: The Power of Community-Building in a New Healthcare Framework

A sense of belonging can save your life. Studies have shown that over time individuals that have a deep sense of personal relationship and a positive-feedback loop network tend to be happier and live longer. A more social and more fulfilled you will boost your immune system, lift self-esteem, release stress, and positively regulate some of your body’s integral rhythms and systems. Most famously, there is the example of Ikaria. The Greek island was known for its longevity, highly credited to its strong sense of community. Its citizens, most of which live past 90 cite a communal bliss akin to an extended family. The idylic natural setting, slow pace of life and flavorful Greek wines don’t hurt either.

This sense of belonging is currently under attack by modern living, with an illusory sense of community through social media measured through likes and followers. Studies find that this digital connectivity, while bountiful in benefits, is also particularly effective at bringing us down, fostering a sense of missing out and not keeping up with superficial measures of success and personal worth. As a result we are seeing a mental wellness epidemic affecting multiple generations. This sense of loneliness is further exacerbated by the graying of our population.

A reset is taking place as individuals want to regain their sense of selves and the primordial sense of tribal connections they seek for companionship, identity and protection. We are seeing this in the return of slow living, farm-to-table but also in the return to cities and downtowns, and living in more communal settings, including in-coming consumer-led focus on. In a 2d screen world, we seek the power of 3d connectivity.

The need for tribal connectivity has urgently powerful repercussions for the healthcare industry. Healthcare leaders should embrace the power of community-thinking in terms of everything it does. IT should begin by embracing the concept of “it takes a village,” in terms of community outreach, mapping out the issues and circle of trust to gather insights, customize treatment options, and to deliver trust-engendering programs. This is especially important given the demographic rise of groups traditionally skeptical of healthcare providers, including minority groups and the young.

We are seeing powerful examples in companies, both directly in healthcare and its adjacencies. Progressive healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente, for instance, is literally investing through its Thriving Communities Fund in the creation of low-income community residential projects. We see this focus on community-building also embraced in a revamped Weight-Watchers’ focus on conversations through its Oprah-penned 2020 Vision tour. We see more future-state manifestations of this in the rise of wellness living, including Orlando’s luxe, boomer-wellness destination Lake Nonna.

As we strive to find the human side in our existence, beginning with our wellness, let’s explore your brand’s power to inspire, nurture and amplify a sense of community, including:

1. What purpose drives your brand’s sense of community? What is the toughest challenge your community is asking of your brand?

2. As your consumer tackles anxiety-heavy topics and issues, what is your brand doing to create a sense of collective possibilities and actions? What role can your consumer play and how do you facilitate it?

3. What can you physically do to generate a better form of wellness through physical gathering, both in an ad-hoc and more formal, structured basis?

4. How are you engaging wellness through a circle of trust that goes beyond the patient?

As we tackle the possibilities and challenges of a new era, individuals are looking for a healthier more collective way to reach it. Now, it’s time to show the world how your brand is truly social by design.