Beyond the Social Determinants of Health

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Renown Health President and CEO Tony Slonim, M.D., Dr.PH., FACHE, discusses the need for a more comprehensive conversation about the factors that shape and improve our health.

Healthcare organizations across the country are engaged in a shift from focusing on healthcare delivery to improving health. It is now widely accepted that our health is shaped by many factors including social determinants such as poverty and food deprivation, our access to healthcare, the impact of our environments, and our genetic predispositions. However, healthcare initiatives tend to focus solely on these elements separately rather than examining how they interact with one another.

At Renown, we saw the need for a more comprehensive approach to improving health. Through the Healthy Nevada Project – a landmark population health study combining genetic, clinical, environmental and social data – we are looking at all determinants and how they work together to shape our health. We hope to develop actionable insights for individuals and entire populations. On a personal level, identifying a gene abnormality can help an individual live healthier and understand the genetic risk of passing these traits on to the next generation. On a larger scale, combining multiple determinants will help us understand whether people living in a particular environment might be especially susceptible to a disease or condition.

RELATED: Healthy Nevada Project: What We’ve Learned

By gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the factors that shape our health, we can develop actionable, effective steps that improve the health of the people and the communities we serve.

Dr. Anthony Slonim is an innovator and proven leader in healthcare on both the regional and national levels. During his notable career at major healthcare organizations and academic institutions, Dr. Slonim has developed a national profile as an expert in patient safety, accountable care, healthcare quality and innovative care delivery models focused on improving health within the community. For more Healthy Perspectives, follow Dr. Slonim on Twitter.

Dr. Slonim Addresses Community Health Study

What if you were told that if you provide your DNA in a simple spit test, you could be healthier? Now what if it wasn’t just you, but also your family, neighbors, community, state or nation. Would you do it?

Watch the TEDx Talk

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