Decades of research have shown that good health requires far more than good health care. While access to high-quality clinical care is essential for good health, at a population level, medical care prevents only 10% of premature mortality. Having far more impact are health behaviors, such as tobacco use; the physical environment, such as water quality; economic factors, such as education and employment status; and social support.
Collectively, these nonmedical factors are termed the “social determinants of health” because they have been found to profoundly influence health outcomes and life expectancy. Despite their importance, the US health care delivery system has evolved to focus primarily on clinical care. Recently, policymakers and health care stakeholders have called attention to the inconsistency and initiated new programs to address patients’ social needs.
The partner organizations of the California Improvement Network (CIN) met in October 2016 to discuss efforts to address patients’ social needs through partnerships with community-based organizations. CIN partners heard from these organizations:
- San Diego’s La Maestra Community Health Centers
- The Young Women’s Christian Association of San Gabriel Valley
- ChapCare, a Federally Qualified Health Center
- The Oregon Primary Care Association
A full summary of the meeting, which includes highlights from speakers’ presentations and links to online resources, is available as a Document Download.