We are delighted to launch the first of our postings from the City of Santa Monica's Office of Wellbeing.   I am Julie Rusk, a longtime Santa Monica resident and City Hall staff member with two children who just finished in the Santa Monica public schools.   

I know Santa Monica from the soccer field to the grocery store.  I have also been working here on the second floor of City Hall for over two  decades.   Which means the better part of my adult life has been right here in Santa Monica listening, building solutions, crafting new partnerships -- all with the goal of creating a stronger, more connected community.  

I work with talented colleagues and highly engaged residents, all of whom strive to make our community ever better.  And yet, as well as we do -- I know there is more we can do to make a lasting impact and real difference for all people in Santa Monica. 

But how can we know we're doing that?    

That's the question we asked that launched this odyssey into community wellbeing.  

Our work is to harness data for the community good.  It is to use that data to better understand people, neighborhoods, and issues.   It's  about smart use of the emerging science and research that points us to answers about community health.  And this connects us in Santa Monica to a bourgeoning movement of people - from educators to doctors, economists to environmentalists, artists and technologists -- all seeking new ways to improve community and individual wellbeing.

This blog is meant to be one way for us to share what we are doing, feature what you are doing and learn together.  In the coming weeks and months, we plan to deliver commentary, insight and reflections. In other words, we want to give you a front row seat to wellbeing and innovation.  And, this being the interactive age, we want to hear your experience and get your suggestions. Immediately.  

So join us, as we strive, scramble and perhaps even stumble, in our quest for a better Santa Monica. 




"We’ve been wrong about what our job is in medicine.  We think our job is to ensure health and survival.  But really it is larger than that.  It is to enable wellbeing.  And wellbeing is about the reasons one wishes to be alive." -- Dr. Atul Gawande, Being Mortal

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