What has significantly affected life expectancy in the last several decades? Improved nutrition and housing, clean drinking water, hygienic sewage disposal, safe deliveries of babies, vaccination programs, tobacco policies, workplace safety, better education and higher standards of living, to name a few.
Instead of curing disease, public health measures work on preventing disease by addressing factors that create illness in the first place: social, economic and physical environments, personal health practice and access to health services.
The world we have allowed to rise up around us makes unhealthy living the normal default behavior. If you have to go out of your way to make healthful choices, then go figure the vast majority of us won’t.
The U.S. health care system is not a universally accessible system – it is a publicly and privately-funded patchwork of fragmented systems and programs. Insured Americans are covered by both public and private health insurance, with a majority covered by private insurance plans through their employers.
“If we want to make our patients well, that means we want to make our communities well. And that means prevention and addressing the social determinants of illness.” Sir Michael Marmot, Chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization Read the Interview: How to make the social determinants of health matter […]
As Cree youngsters in the north, we are taught the tradition of how to walk on the land and in the bush – with each foot fall carefully and quietly placed so as not to disturb the food sources that have always meant the difference between thriving and starvation. It is a hard won but essential skill for those living off the land and it takes many years of practice to master.
Recently, I was fortunate to attend the Global Symposium on the Role of Physicians and National Medical Associations in Addressing Health Equity and the Social Determinants of Health held in London, England.
Recently, I was fortunate to attend the Global Symposium on the Role of Physicians and National Medical Associations in Addressing Health Equity and the Social Determinants of Health held in London, England. The meeting was organized by the Canadian, British and World Medical Associations and had, among other goals, an agenda to assist public health pioneer Sir Michael Marmot in making such issues central to his upcoming role as president of the World Medical Association.
Does more healthcare create better outcomes? In other words, do more medications, tests and interventions necessarily result in healthier patients?
It turns out more care is, all too often, unnecessary care.
Canadians might be surprised to learn that 86 families now hold more wealth than the poorest 11.4 million Canadians. Is this a Canada to be proud of? Hardly. According to many studies, the Canadian poverty rate remains high.