Penn Bioethics Seminar Series (PBS) | Latisha Thompson, MSW, MPH
12:00pm - 1:00pm • via Zoom
Do healthcare systems have a role in reducing social and economic inequities?
Latisha Thompson, MSW, MPH
Licensed Social Worker, University of Pennsylvania Health System
Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 12:00-1:00p Eastern
Via Zoom. Register in advance:
The meeting link will be provided automatically upon registration.
Abstract: The link between individual social and economic needs and health outcomes is well-known and investigated in the field of public health (Braveman et al., 2011; Evans et al., 1994; Galea et al., 2011; Link & Phelan, 1995; Marmot, 2004; Marmot & Wilkinson, 2005)). As a result, screening for social needs and implementing interventions are becoming a mainstay value-based strategy among many US health systems (L. M. Gottlieb et al., 2017; Horwitz et al., 2020). However, in the year-long presence of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, recent studies have suggested that social risk factors, such as financial, housing, and food insecurity, may have worsened, leading to a burgeoning social and economic crisis in the United States (Bartsch et al., 2020; Dunn et al., 2020; Sharma et al., 2020). Especially among vulnerable populations, these consequences have had a critical impact on national rates of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality (Van Dyke et al., 2021).
Health care systems must universalize social needs screening and response programming in order to meet the complex social and health needs of patients, during and beyond this public health emergency. This editorial aims to highlight the essential role of healthcare systems in mitigating unmet social needs during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we will describe how the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates existing social and economic inequities, highlight the current role of the health-care system in responding to individual and population-level health outcomes, and examine two large health-care systems’ social needs referral and response programs piloted before and during the current public health emergency. Lastly, we will conclude with possible implications and future directions for public health, and other stakeholders, in addressing these dual crises during and beyond the pandemic.
For more information, please contact Mary.Pham@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.