Studies have shown medical care—which receives so much focus in our society—only accounts for 10 to 20 percent of our health, while 80 to 90 percent of health is determined by other factors, such as social determinants of health. Understanding how these additional drivers impact our health is key to achieving a society where all people, regardless of their social position or socially determined circumstances, have the opportunity to attain their full health potential. Social determinants are a vehicle to advance our thinking about health equity and provide a shared perspective and intentional focus on working together to achieve better, and most importantly, more equitable and impartial health outcomes for all.
Collaboration Provides Opportunities to Improve Health Outcomes
Across the nation, thought leaders in healthcare, academia, government, business, and nonprofits are trying to comprehend and shape strategies to address social determinants of health. This will require a broad and multifaceted approach and the development of actionable frameworks for how communities can work together—as no one organization or sector alone can address these underlying issues and barriers that impact health. The movement toward value-based payment methods, for example, presents an opportunity for policymakers to align the inherent social justice case with business motivations for reducing disparities, but these efforts require collaboration among the corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors.
Consider something as straightforward as visiting the doctor. Social determinants of health may determine someone’s private or public insurance coverage, access to clinical services, strength of advocacy networks, transportation and dozens of other factors that could affect their ability to access healthcare and achieve their full health potential. These barriers can have a significant impact on health outcomes. In fact, the U.S. has a higher infant mortality rate than similarly wealthy countries, and this can be traced to the impact of social determinants.
Anthem Social Determinants of Health Action Framework
Community Health Charities (CHC) is a national organization that has worked for more than 60 years to create healthier communities and build the capacity of thousands of health and wellness nonprofit partners who collectively can play a role in shaping policies and practices that promote better health and health equity. Thanks to a grant from the Anthem Foundation, CHC will be working to support nonprofit organizations to expand their reach to address social determinants in their communities.
Through our new collaboration, the Anthem Social Determinants of Health Action Framework (Action Framework), we are providing the opportunity for stakeholders to work together to address the social, economic and other root causes that impact health for communities in Indianapolis, Indiana. In building these partnerships and processes, we hope to create a model that can be replicated across the country, addressing social determinants through collaboration, plus prioritizing approaches and interventions that will collectively impact and improve health.
We will be working with local community partners to identify their critical social determinants of health priorities and apply the Action Framework to create long-term solutions for addressing them. It is our hope that by demonstrating these solutions “in action” as a model, we can promote learning on a national scale. The Action Framework will be developed and demonstrated through the creation of a hub of key stakeholders who are active in addressing major social determinants of health in Indianapolis, IN. Throughout the process, we will learn from our partners serving the community directly and adjust to their real-time lived experiences and feedback.
Our hope through this ambitious project is not just to increase local understanding of social determinants of health in Indianapolis, but to take these learnings and apply them in other communities around the nation. It’s all part of our shared goal to create stronger, healthier communities.