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Senior Program Associate
I'm a public health professional with a strong interest in design for social impact. I currently manage and evaluate projects to improve sexual and reproductive health in East and West Africa. The best part of my job is leading user-centered research to design programs, services, and communication campaigns to improve global health.
Transform restaurants into weekly dining halls with meal plans for local residents. Over regular meals, neighbors will build community at themed Social Tables and collaboratively address issues at Challenge Tables.
The idea of rebranding PTO or sick days as health days sounds promising. One potential issue, though: I imagine that such a system would allow the healthy to get healthier while the sick stay sick. Under this system, people who have chronic illnesses that require them to take a lot of sick days may not be able to take many (or any) health days. If it's true that it would widen the health gap between employees, would that be problematic? Inequitable? I'm not sure myself. Just wanted to throw that issue out there to see what others think.
I’m glad you asked, Johan. The selling point is that the dining halls would provide a forum for getting to know your neighbors and creating a sense of community. The features that distinguish it from restaurants would help to accomplish this. They include:
1) Meal plans that encourage you to keep going back to the same restaurant week after week. You don’t have to coordinate times to see your neighbors; you just run into them at the neighborhood dining hall each week.
2) Group norms that encourage rather than discourage mixing. At normal restaurants, it’s rare to sit down with a stranger and strike up a conversation. The promotional materials for the dining halls will explain the mission so that the people who opt in will be people who want to make new connections.
3) Table topics that break the ice. Since Challenge Tables require collaboration, neighbors will come away feeling like they’re part of the same team.
Does that address your question? Thanks for commenting!