Forum Session

Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Examining the Impact of Socioeconomic Status on Health
March 14, 2008

Manager

Jessamy Taylor, MPP

Summary

This Forum session explored the impact of social forces on health. Evidence of the health disparities that result from differences in socioeconomic status and related factors were presented through a segment of the documentary series "UNNATURAL CAUSES: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?" and through speaker presentations. A vision for improving health through community-level interventions that address these social determinants of health was offered. The session provided an opportunity to discuss the role federal health care policymakers might play within this broad framework to improve health.

The PBS documentary series "UNNATURAL CAUSES: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?" was produced by California Newsreel with Vital Pictures. A portion of episode 1, “In Sickness and in Wealth,” was shown to begin the Forum session.

Speakers

Nancy E. Adler, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, and Chair, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health; Ichiro Kawachi, MD, PhD, Professor of Social Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Harvard University; Mildred Thompson, Senior Director, PolicyLink

With Comments By:
Gail Christopher, DN, Vice President for Programs, W. K. Kellogg Foundation

Slides from the presentations by Drs. Adler and Kawachi and Ms. Thompson are available for download.

Related Materials

For additional information, see "Completing the Recipe for Children’s Health: New Variations on Key Ingredients," a report on the June 28, 2007 Forum Workshop. See also the Web site of the UNNATURAL CAUSES documentary; Reaching for a Healthier Life: Facts on Socioeconomic Status and Health in the U.S., a report from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health; and Overcoming Obstacles to Health, a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the Commission To Build a Healthier America.

See also: "High Hopes: Public Health Approaches to Reducing the Need for Health Care" (Background Paper No. 78); "Unusual Suspects: Focusing on Nonmedical Determinants to Improve the Nation's Health" (Forum Session, November 5, 2010); "Getting Real: Data Sources, the Evidence Base, and Strategies for Improving the Health of Communities" (Forum Session, September 24, 2010); and "Resilience and Renaissance: Efforts to Rebuild a Healthier New Orleans" (Site Visit, May 26-28, 2009).

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