Welcome to my January 2022 Living Conditions and Health newsletter. You can find past newsletters with additional background materials, and different stories and initiatives on my website and in my LinkedIn articles or posts. Join me in identifying and coordinating initiatives that advance health, health equity and community and healthcare redesign.
A New Direction
This is my last Living Conditions and Health newsletter. It has been four years and time flies even during COVID! I have decided to concentrate my future posting and blogging on advancing multistakeholder investment and engagement in upstream efforts to improve living conditions AKA Social Determinants of Health (SDoH). I still dislike this term. It is one more mouthful acronym that doesn’t resonate with the people outside of the healthcare bubble, including the people we are trying to help.
I see the need for broader stakeholder engagement as the greatest gap in advancing sustained health equity, supporting underserved individuals and communities, and dismantling racism. These efforts need to be pursued in tandem with improvement in living conditions for health and sustainable living. Broad stakeholder engagement is needed to focus on the full landscape of barriers and benefits to greater equity and opportunity. These efforts must also be led by the individuals and communities we seek to support and non-health stakeholders in the communities including employers, investors, infrastructure businesses and community-based organizations. Often health care providers and payers are anchor institutions in communities and will still play a key role in the multi-stakeholder support. As I start to shift my focus, I wonder if the public health perspective would bring a more balanced view to this worthy task. The pandemic has taught us that public health brings a broader perspective that enables change when given the resources.
If you have been following my newsletters you know I strongly support changes that are not unduly tied to discrete healthcare outcomes and instead focus on basic human needs of individuals, families, and communities. The best part of having tracked SDOH over the past 4 years is the broad acknowledgement that circumstances in which people live, work and play is the greatest driver of health outcomes (40-60%) while clinical care effects only 20% of health outcomes. However, most of the healthcare industry investments are heavily focused on target members or patients of each organization rather than looking at the collective needs of the people in the communities with inadequate resources for basic daily living needs. I’m getting ahead of my first official post for this new direction but rest assured, or with trepidation, that I will still be engaged. I will be seeking out like minded colleagues and friends to help advance this approach locally and nationally, and my focus will still be directly related to living conditions and health.
The inequities laid bare by the pandemic and discussed at the JP Morgan Health Equity conference mentioned below are what excite me about taking a new direction in my efforts to help advance change. I also admit freely that this new direction my have unduly influenced this final newsletter. Apologies if you were expecting something different.Continue reading “January 2022 Newsletter”