252040 Building healthier communities collaboratively with an integrated societal approach

Monday, October 31, 2011: 12:30 PM

Hardy Loe, MD, MPH , Hardy Loe and Associates, Houston, TX
The time-honored purpose of public health practice is the improvement of health status and the reduction of diseases, injury, and disability in the population at large and in specific populations-at-risk. At issue is implementation of methods of intervention before the fact to prevent disease/injury, restore health and function, and -- failing that -- restoration of health status within the limits of what is possible. The means of carrying this out is reflected in the scientific discoveries of microbial causes of disease, unsanitary conditions, risks of injury, hazardous work conditions, malnutrition, low income, risky exposures of consumers of goods and services, etc., and the consequent advent of organized public health deparatments and Boards of Health as the principal means of improving health.

It has become apparent that the breadth of threats to health and the parallel range of preventive and/or corrective interventions extend well beyond the scope and capability of the organized public health system. In response, health departments have increasingly sought and established partnerships with other sectors of society to extend the range of possible corrective interventions. The broadening of health threats beyond traditional public health concerns, as social determinants of health, opens the range of targets of health status intervention.

The implication for public helath interventionists is to achieve working collaboration with other sectors of society, whose business it is to address the broader range of determinants, and to do with the familiar public health scenario of intervening as far "upstream" from the negative health events as possible.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the implications of adopting social determinants of health as a means of addressing improved health status of populations. 2. Define community-specific social determinants of health. 3. Define collaborative structures specific to particular health problems.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I practiced as a public health physician for the Houston Department of Health and Human Services for 4 years before joining academia and teaching public health practice for more than 35 years. I served as Associate Dean for Community Health before retiring. I am on the Board of Directors for the Texas Health Institute and serve as an active member of the Texas Association of Local Health Officers and the Texas Public Health Association; in the latter, I served as program coordinator for the annual meeting sessions and on the Governing Council.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.