Broaden the conversation about health care to include questions about social support – especially safe, affordable and stable housing. See it now »
New Key Concept
Health behavior and social position
People whose socioeconomic status is low are more likely to act in ways that harm their health. See it now »
New How I Did It
Rx for the Bronx
Radio series looks beyond medical care for New York’s least healthy county: WNYC reporter Amanda Aronczyk was new to health reporting when she got the assignment. See it now »
The poor live shorter lives than the rich, and this link between income and health has been well documented for more than 150 years.
But up until the 1980s, most research on health inequality focused on the effects of poverty. Studies generally assumed that higher rates of illness and death among the poor arose from material deprivation (lack of medical care, inadequate food, greater exposure to pollution). And public policy hinged on the assumption that there must be a threshold at which further increases in income have little or no effect on health.
That changed with the Whitehall Study, a decades-long survey comparing the health and life spans of 17,000 British civil servants of differing pay grades.
The Caller-Times is midway through its yearlong series examining the scourge of diabetes in the Coastal Bend.
Reporter Rhiannon Meyers discusses what the series has discovered so far. She will also share what's to come, including a piece coming this Sunday that will take readers inside the operating room for a behind-the-scenes look at weight loss surgery and its effect on Type 2 diabetes.
Second Annual Symposium of the Social Determinants of Health: Keynote Speaker.
For more info visit: http://urbanhealth.jhu.edu/Social_Determinants_of_Health/
Each month, What's Next Health features leading thinkers to inspire us to think about the future of health and health care. Watch BJ Fogg's conversation with RWJF's Brian Quinn, as they discuss BJ Fogg's behavior change model and its potential impact for the Foundation's work. Learn more at http://www.rwjf.org/wnhbjfogg.
Income inequality is making Americans sick, according to a groundbreaking Social Science and Medicine article coauthored by Jonathan Metzl. Traditionally, U.S. physicians are trained to diagnose their patients' illnesses through attention to biological systems. But Metzl, director of Vanderbilt's Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, and Helena Hansen, a professor of psychiatry and anthropology at New York University, contend that training in biology alone leaves doctors woefully unprepared for understanding how people's health is determined as much by their zip code as their genetic code.
Writing in February issue of Social Science and Medicine, Metzl and Hansen introduce a novel, five-step way of training physicians based in a method called "structural competency."
Structural competency teaches doctors to better recognize how medical issues such as hypertension, depression and obesity sometimes represent the downstream effects of societal decisions about such factors as food distribution networks, transit systems, or urban or rural infrastructure. And it promotes societal engagement "beyond the walls of the clinic" by the medical profession.
(read more at www.news.vanderbilt.edu search Metzl.)
To learn more about Vanderbilt, visit http://www.vanderbilt.edu.
Ryan Meili is a family doctor with a focus on social responsibility from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In this TEDxRegina talk, Ryan makes the case for our social agenda to be driven by the determinants of health. This talk was filmed May 16, 2012 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social & Natural Science and Professor of Internal Medicine/General Medicine, gives a lecture entitled, "Why Humans Have Friends: The Evolutionary Biology of Lifelong Social Interactions," during the Yale Claude D. Pepper Symposium Aging Research at Yale: Past, Present and Future.
Update August 17, 2014: A customized version of this index, built especially for the Brazilian Amazon, launches August 23, 2014.
It can be hard to get people to notice a problem. Or care about it. It can be really hard to work together to find solutions. And even harder to implement those solutions in a way that makes a difference. The Social Progress Framework provides a robust, holistic and innovative measurement tool that is being used in different ways in different places to improve human wellbeing.
On April 3, 2014, the Social Progress Imperative launched its Social Progress Index 2014. We define 'social progress' as the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential. The 2014 Index covered 132 countries, measuring what really matters to real people. Explore the data at http://www.socialprogressimperative.org/data/spi or read the full report at http://www.socialprogressimperative.org/publications.
[This video and other materials related to the Social Progress Index 2014 use the World Bank definition: "GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP). PPP GDP is gross domestic product converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates. An international dollar has the same purchasing power over GDP as the U.S. dollar has in the United States. GDP at purchaser's prices is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. It is calculated without making deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or for depletion and degradation of natural resources. Data are in constant 2005 international dollars." http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.KD]
In one disadvantaged Richmond community, educational opportunities are a lifeline for community residents to better health, yet the relationship between education and health is
often complex. See how the Engaging Richmond partnership, a group of community researchers, is collaborating with VCU's Center on Society and Health to explore this complex relationship and raise awareness about the important connections between education and health.
Created by the VCU Center on Society and Health with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this video is part of the Education and Health Initiative, a larger project aiming to increase awareness and understanding of the important connections between education and health. More detailed information is available at http://www.rwjf.org/EducationMatters.
We now know that where we live, down to our individual zip codes, can determine our current and future health. Our income, environment, nutrition, education, and services are all impacted and to ease these disparate outcomes involves initiatives that touch almost every facet of society. Do these investments work? Who pays for it? Is it scalable? Should we expect health from our community?
Join us for a discussion about the impact of poverty on health and the new approaches to breaking the zip code barriers to health with guests from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Penn Medicine, and ChildFirst as well as representatives from the United States Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services.
An income at or near the poverty line is strongly correlated with a greater risk of many diseases. Some of the potential reasons are apparent, such as living in environments where it's harder to exercise, lacking access to fresh fruits and vegetables, being unable to afford medications or having time off to see doctors. That doesn't fully explain why those with less money are more likely to be smokers or unhealthy eaters or to make other choices detrimental to their health.
Research suggests there are hidden reasons. Living with adversity leads to chronic stress that can lead to depression and a loss of self-control. A paper published in the journal Science this spring posits that the worries associated with being poor may affect cognitive function; there's just not enough brain space left to think beyond basics. Poverty may affect the ability to take on risk and look for long-term solutions to problems.
What do we know about the psychology of poverty, and how does it play out in homes, schools and in the healthcare system? What interventions work best to stem the cycle of poverty and ill health, and when do they need to begin?
Each month, What's Next Health features leading thinkers to inspire us to think about the future of health and health care. Learn more at http://rwjf.org/wnhjirtle. Watch Randy Jirtle's conversation with RWJF's Nancy Barrand, as they discuss Randy's work in epigenetics and its impact on health and health care. Learn more at www.rwjf.org/wnh.
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Upcoming events on Social Determinants/Disparities from the AHCJ calendar.
The 2014 NCHD will focus on policies and programs to reduce health disparities, with one panel addressing a new topic: the impact of health issues, including disparities, on our nation’s military personnel and national security.