October 8, 2014 | Tags: Blog | Tags: Conference
“Healthcare is not enough” was the refrain of the Show Us the Way Conference presented by the Community Health Advocates of Oregon (CHAO) on September 18, 2014 in Portland. Dr. George Flores with the California Endowment opened the day with a presentation in which he discussed how the built environment and community impact the health of individuals.
Dr. Flores noted that the United States spends 97% of health care dollars on medical care, while that same care only accounts for 10% of the factors that impact health. The other 90% of factors that impact health are genetics (20%), and behaviors & environment (70%). As a follow-up to Dr. Flores presentation, participants were divided into three groups and taken on tours of low-income neighborhoods in Portland. These neighborhoods experience poorer health outcomes because of the built environment, like lack of access to fresh foods, unemployment, lack of safe outdoor spaces, unsafe housing, and lack of transportation.
All of these factors and more have effects on patients’ health. A great example of this was presented after the tours in the showing of a TedTalk by Dr. Rishi Manchanda. Dr. Manchanda discussed a patient who came to his clinic with chronic headaches, who had seen various providers and visited the Emergency Department multiple times but found no relief. Dr. Manchanda asked her about her housing situation and connected her with a community health worker (CHW) who visited her home and discovered mold, the cause of her headaches. By looking “upstream” Dr. Manchanda was able to address the root cause of the patients’ health problem. The CHW was able to work with the patient and her landlord to mitigate the mold problem and alleviate her headaches.
The integration of CHW’s into primary care settings can allow more PCP’s to look “upstream.” This approach can help patients have better health outcomes and providers lower their burden, helping all patients to be the healthiest they can be.
You can access copies of presentations and other materials from the conference on the CHAO website>>>
Meghan Haggard, MPH, is originally from Kansas and attended Ottawa University where she received her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Healthcare Management. While working at a combined Federally Qualified Health Center, Local Health Department, Meghan discovered her passion for public health. This led her to graduate school at the University of South Florida, where she completed a Master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Global Health Practice. After a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Yamhill County Public Health, Meghan began working as a Program Coordinator at Q Corp where she is excited to learn new skills and take on new challenges.
You can reach Meghan at firstname.lastname@example.org.