Dr. David Nash On Population Health
Population health is an approach to health and well-being that aims to improve outcomes for an entire population. David B. Nash, MD, MBA, the founding dean of the Jefferson College of Population Health, shares the following thoughts on the topic:
Population Health – Population health is sort of the roof on the house, supported by themes like public health, health care quality and safety, health economics, and health policy.
Wellness – We’re a long way from a culture of wellness in our country where only 3 percent of people exercise regularly, eat their fruits and vegetables, don’t smoke, wear a seatbelt, and are at an appropriate body mass index! There needs to be a change of culture that focuses on health and wellness, and we’re going to have to introduce all this material into the educational system.
Obesity – Obesity is a difficult problem, which is all culturally based. Americans want to take their Lipitor on their way to McDonalds. Again, we’re going to have to start at a very early age in the educational system to tackle this.
Technology – Telemedicine, texting and emailing with patients, constant monitoring via Fitbit or other Bluetooth technology—technology is a tool to foster patient engagement.
Social Determinants of Health – The biggest unmet need is understanding the social determinants of health and that in our country, if you’re poor, you’re in a world of hurt. The current administration is exacerbating this problem with a war on the poor—decreasing Medicaid, Meals on Wheels, female reproductive services, etc. We won’t soon see a culture of wellness unless we, as a society, agree that it’s unsustainable to spend 18 percent of the GDP on healthcare as we’re taking resources away from other important activities.