Welcome to "Landscapes of Health": A CHE Study Guide to Exploring Health Beyond the Clinic. On these pages we've assembled a series of stories, images, and insights that we hope will serve as a useful primer for thinking about human and environmental health as more than the presence or absence of disease, but as part of broader cultural, social, historical, and environmental relationships.

participating members of the workshop seated
2011 "Landscapes of Health" Workshop Participants

This approach to health reflects CHE's ongoing commitment to bringing together scholars and scientists from a wide array of disciplines to explore the changing relationships between humans and the environment over time. Health, we've discovered, is a theme that unifies many seemingly-disparate people and groups - from wildlife biologists, to public health officials, to clinicians, to citizens and community activists. And true to CHE's eclectic nature, we've tried to explore how these varying perspectives connect with one another.

Health also connects people and places. It connects the water that flows from a lake through a treatment plant to a drinking glass in the home. Health connects toxic compounds buried in river sediments with the bodies of fish that are consumed for dinner. It connects workers in a plant to the machines and equipment they use for many years. Health connects the structural inequality of poverty to a set of structures still covered with lead paint.

On the pages below you'll find a useful primer to thinking, and re-thinking, about the landscapes of health.

Stories of Health and Place

old farm and silo

To better understand how health connects people and place, a group of students in CHE's 2011 Methods Seminar sought out a series of stories that highlighted the relationship between health and place. Building on CHE's ongoing efforts to use film as a means of telling stories, these pieces are three minute films that combine images and sound to narrate stories about health, place, and time.

students walking outside on a tour

Looking for Health

In May 2011 CHE also embarked on its annual "Place-Based Workshop," which was organized around the theme of "Landscapes of Health in Wisconsin." Visiting a wide range of communities, people, and places, this four-day trip took in just a small fraction of the diversity of health issues in the state. Inspired by other guides for exploring urban and energy landscapes that CHE has created, our 2011 workshop participants have produced a remarkable page called "Looking for Health Beyond the Clinic," which chronicles the workshop and our participant's insights.

An Eclectic Guide

close up of handwritten study guide

We've also assembled an eclectic study guide that collects nonfiction, fiction, and films that explore health and the environment through lenses of history and culture.

CHE also offers additional reading lists.

Health Is...

A poem written by participants of the CHE workshop, Spring 2011.

Health is community.
Health is a feeling connected to yourself and those around you.
Health is knowing your neighbors ... and not just the human ones.
Health is a field loud with bees.
Health is not a commodity, but a right of all living things.
Health is a feeling of wholeness that takes constant work to maintain.
Health feels like conversation, relationships, ties.
Health is looking forward to tomorrow
Health is the fabic that protects me. It is woven of food, shelter, water, people and memory.
Health is working alongside the environment of soft, green grass amidst grey, cold concrete.
Health is not a thing, but a relation.
Health is justice.
Health is clean water.
Health is listening deeply to the needs of all beings.
Health, to the Ojibwe, is manomin - wild rice, both sacred and nourishing. It is at the heart of their culture and life, a gift from the spririts of the past.
Health is a stream you can drink from.
Health is a clear sky.
Health is a body of unconditionally caring relationships.
Health is knowing someone will catch you if you fall.
Health feels like warmth from arm pressed to arm, future hopes laid bare.
Health is the realization of the potentiality of being.
Health is hope.