Health Care and Human Services: Partners in Disrupting Poverty? – Eric Fleegler, MD, MPH, FAAP; Somova Stout, MD; Lauren Taylor

Although poverty and its associated social conditions profoundly affect health, health care systems in the US for the past 100 years have largely avoided actively working to improve these conditions. This session will examine how this is changing. We will hear from three renowned innovators in the field. Lauren Taylor, together with Elizabeth Bradley, published profoundly influential research suggesting that the poor outcomes and high health care costs in the US compared with other high income nations are the result of underspending on social services. Soma Stout was named by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2012 as one of ten inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Young Leaders for her contributions to improving the health of the nation. She founded and leads the 100 Million Healthier Lives initiative, an unprecedented collaboration of change agents who are fundamentally transforming the way we think and act to improve health, wellbeing and equity. And Eric Fleegler, a pediatric emergency medicine physician, developed  “HelpSteps” a web and app-based system to connect families to social services that now includes over 22,000 resources covering all of Massachusetts.

What this session will deliver:

  1. An understanding of why health care systems need to address poverty to improve health
  2. Real world examples of how this is taking place—in diverse ways—in communities across the country
  3. Insights into what this means for the rest of us working to disrupt poverty—how to partner with health systems and how to avoid potential pitfalls in the relationship.