What Plays the Primary Role in Health Outcomes?

“It’s funny how you switched careers. You went to medical school but now you’re doing public health,” one of my professors lightly remarked to the Associate Dean at the public health school I am now attending. The Dean politely brushed off the comment but in many ways it elucidated the current tensions in our health care system. Why is improving the well-being of an individual considered so distinct from improving the well-being of a population? Why are demarcations established between healing a person and healing the surrounding environment?

Mounting evidence demonstrates that a patient’s health outcome has largely been decided for him or her before the patient even enters the clinic. One’s health is predominantly impacted by socioeconomic determinants of health, such as poor housing, food insecurity, and unemployment; medical care itself affects only 10-15% of patient outcomes.i

Read full article originally published on Aspiring Docs Diaries


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