Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker
“Financial Health Is Public Health.”
Personal Finance. Community Results. A TEDxWilmington Salon
Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 at the Gold Ballroom at the Hotel DuPont   MORE INFO

“Past research and work volunteering in clinics as a family physician opened my eyes to the concept ‘Financial Health is Public Health.’ And my experience over the past few months at DHSS has confirmed my deep convictions about that connection.

As I’ve worked my way through the TEDx Talk process and started focusing on the words in the title of my talk, I’ve become more aware of how tightly the two are linked.
  •  If you can’t pay to fix your refrigerator, how can you keep your insulin from going bad?
  • If you don’t have transportation to get to a doctor for care in the early stages of being sick, how are you going to pay for the emergency room care and an ambulance as your illness progresses?
  • If your neighborhood doesn’t offer a place to get fresh fruits and vegetables and you live in a food desert, how can you be expected to have a healthy diet?
These are the situations thousands of Delawareans find themselves in during their daily lives.
Financial health is public health.
I repeat that to myself many times each day.
I think about it when I look at my family and thank God for the food on our table. I think about it when I hear reports of those we help from the division directors in my department. I think about it when I visit communities, clinics and state service centers.
And as I’ve done so, I’ve realized just how important it is for me to get this message across during my TEDx Talk. It is an opportunity to make those patient stories come to life for others and to share the link between health and the other factors related to better health. 
Preparing for this talk is much less about memorizing data. It is also more challenging than having a one-on-one conversation about health issues. I want to ensure that the information I share is a mix of inspiration, a take-away, and a call to action. I want to underscore the importance of financial health. I also want to share my personal passion for making a difference for many Delawareans who struggle with health and finances. ​After all, I am not an actor, but a doc and a public health professional.

Dr. Kara Odom Walker was sworn in as Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Services on Feb. 6, 2017. As Secretary, she leads the principal agency charged with keeping Delawareans healthy, ensuring they get the health care they need in a fast-changing world, and providing children, families and seniors with essential social services including food benefits, disability-related services, and mental health and addiction treatment. She oversees one of the largest departments in Delaware’s government with an annual budget of more than $2 billion. READ MORE

Personal Finance. Community Results :: A TEDxWilmington Salon :: Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 :: Gold Ballroom at the Hotel DuPont   MORE INFO