Meet a Health Hero: Kevin J. Burns
» You can vote for Kevin here from August 22nd through September 18th.
Name: Kevin J. Burns
Role: Executive director at Action Wellness, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people living with chronic illness in the Philadelphia area.
What motivates you to try and make Philadelphia a healthier place?
Social justice. I have always been motivated to work to achieve better access to health care for people who, for any reason, do not have equal opportunities to high quality care. I am very proud of the work Action Wellness has done and continues to do to ensure better access to care for all people living in the region.
Describe a health or fitness-related turning point in your life.
The most significant health turning point in my life was the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. At the beginning of the epidemic, many of my friends were very sick and dying. I knew I had to do something to try to make a difference for them and for members of my community living with HIV. In 1986 I volunteered to be a Buddy for Action Wellness. I was hired as a Medical Case Manager in 1989 and became the Executive Director in 2005. I am fortunate to work with amazing clients, volunteers and staff. All of us are passionate about the work we do.
What “policy” would you institute to make Greater Philadelphia a healthier region?
Incorporating WELLNESS into the culture of our region. Our health care delivery system tends to be focused on managing disease, as opposed to helping to support people to make lifestyle choices, moving them toward long-term healthy living.
What’s the most important part of your health or wellness regimen?
Working to make healthier choices every day. It can be simple things, such as walking a bit more, eating better, managing stress, making sure to get enough sleep, or getting some exercise every day. I see wellness as a process and work to do a little better every day, while having fun. It is a process that is never complete.
What is your number one piece of health-related advice or encouragement?
Never give up. Never stop trying to be healthier. Take small steps. Monitor your progress and take time to reflect on where you were, where you are at and where you are headed. Enjoy the journey to wellness.
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