Mt. Zion Baptist Church and MedStar Good Samaritan Team Up for a Healthy Community
What happens when a church and hospital come together to serve their community? They encourage members of the congregation and community to use their faith to become more conscious about their mind, body, and soul. When Mount Zion Baptist Church, led by the Rev. Mark Riddix, became involved with the MedStar Good Samaritan Parish Nurse Program, it set out to promote health and wellness within the church. The Health and Wellness Ministry implements prevention strategies throughout the community, provides healthcare services, develops programs that reduce risk factors for disease, and promotes health through education.
Rosa Ragen, a registered nurse with a master's degree in education serves as the congregation's nurse and the director of the Health and Wellness Ministry. "We wanted to make an impact on the community by addressing health prevention, maintenance, and education," says Ragen.
The Health and Wellness Ministry program holds seminars and workshops to encourage the congregation and the community to make lifestyle changes necessary to maintain a healthy body.
Rosa credits Debbie Bena, R.N., the health ministries coordinator at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, for the program's success. Debbie, a faith community nurse, provides the Mount Zion Baptist Church with the support they need. She helps to coordinate the annual Fall Health Fair by calling vendors to set up screenings for osteoporosis and body composition, promotes breast cancer awareness, and aids in the yearly flu shot program. During the spring, she also assists with the educational seminars that advocate nutrition and exercise and provides a quarterly parish newsletter.
The Mount Zion Baptist Health and Wellness Ministry hopes to open up a clinic in following years. Rosa says, " I feel that I have something to offer by educating people about the unique bodies that God has given us. When we change our attitudes about our eating habits and remember that our body is a temple of God, we become healthier spiritual beings."