Evidence suggests that separating immigrant children from their families could cause lasting emotional trauma. Gun violence and adverse weather events destroy lives and property, and create hazardous living conditions. Structural racism has been linked to health inequities, for instance where housing discrimination leads to segregation of black buyers and renters in neighborhoods with poor living conditions. The list goes on, and through every such experience, affected individuals, their loved ones, and their communities learn implicitly what healthcare providers have long known: that health status depends on much more than access to, or quality of, healthcare.

Some of the most influential factors are called social determinants of health, and they include education, immigration status, access to safe drinking water, and others. Society and industry must collaborate to address them if we are to reduce the extraordinary human and economic costs of poor health in our nation. Fortunately, many providers have embraced the challenge, and are tackling it in myriad, innovative ways.

Health status depends on much more than access to, or quality of, healthcare.

Hundreds of providers across the country, like Yale New Haven Health, are helping patients who lack reliable, affordable transportation to stay on top of their health by offering free rides to the doctor’s office via ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft. Geisinger Health’s fresh food pharmacies help patients living in food deserts eat nutritiously, and thus head off or better manage chronic diseases like diabetes.

Read the full article about addressing social determinants of health by Rebecca Fogg at Christensen Institute.