Last week, an editorial on the decline in US life expectancy, authored by P4A codirector Laudan Aron and Stephen Woolf, director of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, was published in the British Medical Journal.
Five years ago, a groundbreaking report showed people in the US in worse health and dying younger than those in other rich nations. Today, despite the alarm the report generated, we learned that life expectancy in the country declined for a second year in a row – astonishing by any standard.
To advance a Culture of Health in our country, we must engage all sectors to work collaboratively. At the core of this effort should be a commitment to rigorous, engaged research that reflects people’s true conditions and realities, generates quick feedback on what is working and what is not, and feeds into policy and practice to drive continuous real-time improvements.
Starting this month, nine new P4A research teams will embark on projects to illuminate how policies and laws (at the local, state, and national levels, and in the private sector) can help improve population health, well-being, and equity. With topics including paid family leave laws, substance use interventions, and vaccine exemptions, our newly funded research projects represent truly innovative thinking on some of the most urgent issues of our time.
Manmeet Kaur, executive director and founder of the Harlem-based community health organization City Health Works, is the inaugural recipient of the Janice Nittoli Practitioner Fellowship. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Nittoli Fellowship is awarded to innovative, entrepreneurial practitioners working in communities to address inequalities and is open to applications.
Housing organizations and health providers have realized they are natural allies. They serve the same people living in the same places, and are learning that their missions are aligned: improving housing quality and stability can lead to better population health outcomes. A growing emphasis on prevention within the health care sector has housing organizations eager to help. But partnering across sectors can be bumpy.
Students attending two-year colleges are more likely to be food insecure than other adults, particularly during economic recessions. Though we don’t identify the underlying causes of this trend, the high levels of food insecurity among two-year students should push policymakers to reexamine how the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) and other supportive services can best assist these students.
One of six case studies featured in our new report Emerging Strategies for Integrating Health and Housing, Foundation Communities’ success highlights how housing leaders can partner with health care allies to better the lives of low-income residents. Its early successes show that we must break down cross-sector silos and engage new partners to make progress on social determinants of health.
Over the last several decades, a robust body of evidence has emerged linking early childhood investments—in high-quality childcare, early learning, home visiting, and more—to better health and well-being, sometimes years later in adulthood.