By Stephanye R. Clarke
Social determinants of health- I talk about them quite a bit, a practice I intend to continue until I see a dramatic decrease in health disparities. If you seek an easy-to-understand description of social determinants of health, here is an article that breaks it down rather nicely.
Last month, we hosted our fourth Reform to Transform forum “Getting to Better Health: Connecting Care and Community” at Quinnipiac University. The forum featured two speakers, Dr. Elizabeth Bradley and Jenney Samuelson, followed by a panel, exploring how connecting comprehensive, affordable, quality clinical care with community/social support can improve population health.
I was recently invited to sit on a local community health needs assessment steering committee. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
“A community health assessment (sometimes called a CHA), also known as community health needs assessment (sometimes called a CHNA), refers to a state, tribal, local, or territorial health assessment that identifies key health needs and issues through systematic, comprehensive data collection and analysis. Community health assessments use such principles as
- Multisector collaborations that support shared ownership of all phases of community health improvement, including assessment, planning, investment, implementation, and evaluation
- Proactive, broad, and diverse community engagement to improve results
- A definition of community that encompasses both a significant enough area to allow for population-wide interventions and measurable results, and includes a targeted focus to address disparities among subpopulations”
The National Institutes of Health/U.S. National Library of Medicine page further explains CHNA as a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
At the first meeting, the conveners – a local hospital and local public health department- shared a handout they’d received in their folders from our event. Many different sectors were represented at this meeting—done inclusively, a large segment of the community can provide critical feedback to the hospital and health department regarding needs, gaps, as well as helping to design and implement a plan to improve overall health for all residents.
I’m certain the conveners knew the importance of connecting clinical care with community/social support prior to our event, but it made me especially proud to hear them say it and to see it in action in southeastern Connecticut. Part of the reason Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut hosts these events is because it ties to our mission—to serve as a catalyst and spark ideas within communities.
It’s really inspiring to see the fruits of our team’s labor playing out in different spaces.
Make sure you like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Before you know it you’ll see a “Save the Date” for our next Reform to Transform summit. You WON’T want to miss it- trust me!