Time Will Reveal: Will We Be Able to Live Our Healthiest Lives?

By Stephanye R. Clarke

“To everything- turn, turn, turn; There is a season- turn, turn, turn…” -The Byrds

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To state the obvious, we are entering a new season and starting next month we will be glued to various news sources to see how President-elect Trump’s first 100 days on the job impact America. Those who’ve been selected for potential Cabinet positions have garnered tons of opinion pieces and generated lots of conversation over the past few weeks.

Like many, I am particularly interested in how the new political climate at the federal level, along with Connecticut budget woes and potentially serious cuts to social service programs. I am curious about how these issues will influence people’s ability to live in safe, affordable housing, receive quality public education, have access to jobs that allow them to care for their families and quality, affordable health care (to name a few).

I’ve written about the social determinants of health in the past. One of my first blogs from earlier this year was about the #FlintWaterCrisis; another blog was about racial and ethnic health disparities; and an older blog explored the intersection of poverty, housing and health.

Yale Professor Dr. Elizabeth H. Bradley, one of our Reform to Transform keynote speakers, shared findings that show maintaining health can be broken down into the following parts: 20% genetics; 20% health care; and 60% social, environmental and behavioral factors. A blog she co-authored in August states, “The United States spends more on health care than any other developed nation, yet a recent study suggests social services could have a greater impact on health outcomes.”

Providers have increasingly conveyed the importance of an investment in improving health by way of care that reaches beyond the more traditional clinical care. Given the number of challenges at both the federal and state levels, it is my hope that as we enter a new year, accompanied by a new administration, new challenges and new expectations, it is my hope that people will continue to talk, strategize, mobilize and take action to assure the rights of all to thrive and live their healthiest possible lives.

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