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Non-Profit Hospitals and the Health of Surrounding Communities

Access to affordable, high-quality health care is critical in creating healthier populations. Yet much of what makes people healthy is determined outside the doctor’s office—from education and housing to safety and healthy food access. What role should hospitals play in improving these social determinants of health? PHI President and CEO Mary Pittman joined WCPN's The Sound of Ideas program to discuss why hospitals are getting into the "zip code improvement business" and why community conditions such as safe streets and healthy housing are critical to health.

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Access to affordable, high-quality health care is critical in creating healthier populations. Yet much of what makes people healthy is determined outside the doctor’s office—from education and housing to safety and healthy food access. What role should hospitals play in improving these social determinants of health?

PHI President and CEO Mary Pittman joined WCPN’s The Sound of Ideas program to discuss why hospitals are getting into the “zip code improvement business” and why community conditions such as safe streets and healthy housing are critical to health:

“In addition to often being a major employer in a community, hospitals often are also working very closely with local schools, public health and other organizations to get at the root causes of illness. Access to healthy food, the ability to have a safe place to exercise, reducing the stressors that come from living in a highly charged, violent community—these are now clearly linked to poor health outcomes. We need to shift the paradigm and say that continuing to invest just in patching people up is not the cost effective or morally effective thing to do.”

Additional guests on The Sound of Ideas radio program included:

  • Dan Diamond, POLITICO reporter
  • Heidi Gartland, Vice President of Government Relations, University Hospitals
  • Vicki Johnston, Director of Community Outreach, Cleveland Clinic
  • Dr. Eileen Seeholzer, MetroHealth
  • Denise VanLeer, Executive Director, Fairfax Renaissance

Listen to the full program here.

Originally published by WCPN's The Sound of Ideas


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