Recently I found a great article on StakeHolderHealth.org where Dr. Denise Koo of the CDC is interviewed about the soon to be launched Community Health Improvement Navigator Website. I have the pleasure of working with Dr. Koo on a project (she’s on the steering committee for A Practical Playbook; I serve on the marketing communications subcommittee) and have a great deal of respect for her. From my perspective, her vision of what is necessary to create population health improvement is spot on. According to Dr. Koo:
“Health is affected by more than just healthcare. Where we work, live, study and play has a greater effect on our health than does the short time we spend in the healthcare system. We need a multipronged, multi-partner approach. We recognize the complexity of tackling health (not solely healthcare) and want to support hospitals and their partners in solving this problem together.” (Stakeholderhealth.org interview)
As I’ve said many times of late, we’re not going to solve population health challenges in the physician’s office alone. Hospitals, health systems, and clinicians are part of the solution. But to battle the prevalence of chronic disease in our communities, we need a collaborative approach that brings together clinicians, public health professionals, and community organizations. We also need to recognize the role of social and economic determinants of health – and the impact of systemic racism on the health of communities of color. As you can see, I drank the Kool-Aid.
As the CDC prepares to launch its Community Health Improvement Navigator website, it has created an Infographic that provides the What, Who, Where, and How of community health improvement. For many of us who work on the hospital/health system side of things, it is important to acknowledge that the answer to creating healthier communities lies outside the walls of our hospitals and outpatient facilities. We’ve got to work collaboratively with groups in our communities to address the social determinants of health within the region.
Check out the CDC’s infographic below. (click on the infographic below to see an enlarged version.)