Dr Charlie Fazio: Partnerships Needed to Address Social Determinants of Health

Clinicians have some influence over social determinants that affect the health of patients, but it’s important for partnerships to be developed to further improve the negative impacts of certain determinants, said Charlie Fazio, MD, senior vice president and medical director of HealthPartners.

Transcript (slightly modified)
How much of primary care innovation should factor in and address social determinants of health?
We think about social determinants, and I love the model that says, “if we think about health and well-being, what we do in healthcare only contributes about 20% to that.”

So, as a clinician, I can help influence some of the components of the social determinants. I can help you think through your personal habits—whether or not you use tobacco, how you eat, whether or not you move on a regular basis. I can help you think through your sense of well-being and your satisfaction with life, and help bring behavioral health supports to play when you need those.

But, I have a lot less influence on whether you have access to healthy foods, and whether you have shelter that feels safe, and where you live—all of which contribute to health and well-being. So, as a clinician, I can help influence some of it, I can help with the healthcare part of it, and then for the rest of it we need to find partnerships.

I think clinics and hospitals work in communities, businesses work in communities, and it’s important for all of those to think about the health of those communities, and how we can work to influence the social determinants so that everybody has a chance to be as healthy and have a greater sense of well-being.
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