Our Zip Code May Be More Important Than Our Genetic Code: Social Determinants of Health, Law and Policy

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-08-05 05:05Z by Steven

Our Zip Code May Be More Important Than Our Genetic Code: Social Determinants of Health, Law and Policy

Social Determinants of Health
Rhode Island Medical Journal
Volume 96, Number 7 (July 2013)

Dannie Ritchie, MD, MPH, Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
Lead, Transcultural Community Health Initiative
Brown University Center for Primary Care and Prevention

Public health is defined as “what we, as a society, do collectively to assure the condition for people to be healthy.” (Institute of Medicine (IOM), 1988, 2003). This evokes the social determinants of health – where we live, learn, work and play has a greater impact on individual and population health than does access to health care. However, when we discuss health and health disparities, clinical care problems are often framed as the problems with the health-care system. Recently, the Institute of Medicine has moved to make the distinction that in public health, the clinical care system is but one part of the overall health system, which should help to avoid the conflation of health as only a product of medical care (IOM 2010)…

This special issue contains a series of papers expanding key themes addressed in the seminars. Making real improvements in the health of our communities, especially the economically, socially and environmentally impoverished communities, requires much more than “fixing” our wasteful, fragmented and misdirected medical-care systems. If we are to achieve health equity, it is time for us to evaluate how to truly shift the dialogue, and not inadvertently replicate the same disparities we are trying to eliminate. We must examine how disparities impact us all across demographics and not only the most vulnerable, though they bear the greater burden. It is our intent with this edition to provide tools to better equip us to evaluate the social determinants of health and ways to take action through law and policy…

Read the entire article here.

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