What the Federal Government Can Do About the Nonmedical Determinants of Health

Taking a Systems Approach to Structuring Our Government's Health Investments Is an Important First Step in Addressing the Many Contributors to Health and Well-Being

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 21, no. 2, Mar./Apr. 2002, p. 94-106

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2002

by Nicole Lurie

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Growing recognition that the acute health care delivery system contributes proportionally less to health when compared with environment and behavior has focused scholars and public health experts on the need to address nonmedical determinants of health. This paper outlines some steps that the U.S. government can take to address these factors and describes some of the challenges involved. Actions that can be undertaken now are increased education and leadership, development of mechanisms to further collaboration among sectors, expanded monitoring and reporting on nonmedical determinants, and developing new knowledge about how these factors affect health and successful interventions to address them.

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