“You can’t be intimidated by social determinants. You have to be willing to take risks, be criticized be offended and to offend.” – Mike Geeslin, CEO of Central Health
Did you know that social and economic factors account for 40% of long term health outcomes? That’s more than any other set of factors, according to most public health models.
On September 8, the 2-Gen Collaborative Provider Network held its quarterly meeting to align around coordinated social service interventions for the whole family to address “upstream factors (i.e. social determinants of health) that contribute to long-term health outcomes.” Discussions were led by Mike Geeslin, CEO of Central Health, Amy Price, Director of 2-1-1 Community Information and Dr. Chris King, local 2-Gen expert and Ascend fellow presented at the meeting.
What we need to be successful
The meeting began with a word from Mike Geeslin about the importance of addressing upstream determinants of our community’s long-term health outcomes. Social determinants of health are the societal factors and conditions that people are born into that often affect their accessibility to quality health care. They include factors like socioeconomic status, education, the physical environment, employment and social support networks.
Geeslin’s presentation evoked a dialogue about the barriers to addressing social determinants for the families we work with and attendees discussed the importance of having a variety of players and options available. Entrepreneurialism is integral in the healthcare space. Innovation is fueled by competition and a greater level of competition leads to higher quality healthcare for many people who desperately need it. What are some ways we can help families that are low income be successful? We must first increase access to existing services and maintain a wide variety of service providers.
Why 2-Gen work is important
Amy Price illustrated the critical community needs by sharing data from the 2-1-1 Navigation center. United Way for Greater Austin (UWATX) collects community information based off of call line data. This data allows UWATX to better understand the most immediate and significant needs, while also informing the strategic plan and data driven approach. There is a strong correlation between 2-1-1 call line data and social determinants. Based on 2-1-1’s large call volume in 2016, significant data was collected about the variety of immediate needs callers and their families have. From a lack of affordable housing to food assistance, these needs are affecting the physical and mental health of callers and their families. To access this data, click here to read the 2016 Community Needs and Trends report.
How we can make a change
Dr. Chris King presented the 2-Gen Policy Research Project Report. The report is a partnership between UWATX and his policy research class at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. The final report includes fieldwork that assesses current community data, policy recommendations and key strategies for service providers. In addition to the report, a set of data tools were unveiled to the 2-Gen community. These data tools seek to uncover where services are currently taking place as well as highlight where the gaps exist. The purpose is to help service providers understand what is and what is not available to the community, while also equipping researchers and potential funders with up to date and reliable data.
As we strive for a holistic approach to family stability we are excited to continue to grow the 2-Gen network so that we can better support both children and families in Austin.
If you work at an Austin nonprofit program serving families and you’re interested in getting involved, contact us here to learn more