We released our Emerging from COVID-19 Action Plan for a Healthier State in early May. Since then, many of you have reached out to discuss next steps. The Action Plan forms the strategic focus of our work at the Quality Institute, and we will continue sharing our efforts to further these far-reaching consensus recommendations. In earlier blogs, I outlined our work to advance Action Plan recommendations on telehealth equity and investment in primary care. Today, I am sharing additional actions.
One section of the Action Plan focuses on promoting public policies that address social determinants of health and lead to greater health equity. In this newsletter’s Take Five, we interview John Pepen, M.D., a Senior Fellow at the Quality Institute, and a surgeon deeply committed to addressing the social drivers of health. Dr. Pepen is working closely with our Mayors Wellness Campaign to develop high-impact strategies to build health and wellness in New Jersey communities. As Dr. Pepen notes, “The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age make more of an impact than any surgery I do or any medication that I can prescribe.” He is working with us to build up our existing tools and resources for mayors and local leaders to address the broader social determinants of health in their communities.
Maternal and Child Health is an area where identifying and addressing the social determinants of health is essential. We are continuing to advocate for public investment that supports publicly funded health care and social services fundamental to health equity. One such investment, proposed in A.4530, provides new mothers and their infants with an in-person visit from a licensed health care worker to assess their holistic health needs and help them obtain the information and services they need during the post-partum period. Programs like this have been shown to improve overall health by reducing anxiety, improving parenting skills, addressing the safety of home environments, and reducing emergency health care costs.
Another section of the Action Plan calls for revitalizing and reorganizing our public health infrastructure. During the pandemic, we saw the need to foster better working relationships and alignment among our health and social service systems and the public health system. To advance that work, we are holding a webinar on June 24 that focuses on strengthening these connections.
We will hear from national experts at Trust for America’s Health alongside New Jersey-based experts from regional health hubs, local public health departments, and the New Jersey Medical Reserve Corps. During the pandemic, cross-sector relationships were developed or deepened. Now is the time to continue the critical work of aligning these systems to better address other health challenges. You can register for the webinar below.
Finally, thank you to all who have reached out to me and our expert staff members to share your insight and perspective on how you think the Quality Institute can keep advancing our mission to improve the safety, quality, and affordability of health care for everyone.