We must remember that health does not exist in a vacuum separate from wealth, from the laws we write, from the systems we create to protect our citizens, or from the injustices that exist in each of these things.
We may want to quit seeing health care and social supports as alternatives and instead see them as complements. Allowing health care expenditures to crowd out upstream investments in health has proven imprudent policy.
We cannot afford to perpetuate a system that pressures clinicians to chase outcomes for problems that originate far beyond their reach. We must pursue transformation that aligns public health and primary care.
Our consequences-based approach to health care will lead to a lifetime of medication, countless doctor visits, and the need for surgery and other costly interventions for those who are chronically ill.
Whenever there is an outbreak, there is political and public outcry that dies out as soon as it is controlled. We have the great privilege of living largely free of fear from infectious disease, but it comes at a cost -- investment in and ongoing support for the public health system.
We cannot ask health care providers to address all the factors that make people sick, nor is there a fix to every source of stress. But we can recognize the broader impact of illness on a person's life and the outside factors that interfere with their medical care and recovery.
Veronica's story illustrates how clinicians can effectively address the social determinants of health by using tools that assess a patient's community and environmental circumstances, as well as by including non-medical providers as part of a health care team.
I've seen prevention evolve from a fringe notion to an idea championed by communities across the country. This latest report from the CDC shows how far we still have to go -- and suggests some strategies for how we might get there.
We're probably aware of genetic traits and social habits -- desirable and undesirable -- that we've inherited from our parents. And we probably agree that racism is often taught by parents and learned by children. But how does health risk from racism pass down generations?