Community health has been an important Alliance goal since its founding in 2003, and we consider it an important element of sustainability. This internship takes its name from an opinion piece by Dr. Donald Berwick published in the Journal of the American Medical Association [JAMA].
We hear a lot about the ‘social determinants of health’*, but we don’t hear much about taking responsibility for eliminating them. Nor do we hear about how the same set of factors are also determinants for justice, education, and other aspects of community resilience and sustainability.
* generally includes such factors as early childhood, Adverse Childhood Experiences [ACEs]; education, housing, access to healthy food, mobility, and community vitality; and a sense of economic and social fairness or justice (including racial, ethnic, and gender identity). We also need to consider environmental health and a widespread lack of environmental justice & climate justice.
In the U.S., we invest in more and more elaborate ways for healthcare (and education) to respond to poor health instead of investing in prevention — and these are, of course, moral choices. As Dr. Berwick notes, ‘Vast, expensive repair shops (such as medical centers and emergency services) are hard at work, but minimal facilities are available to prevent the damage.’ We fail to deal with the underlying moral considerations.
Interns will explore ways to address these problems, develop processes for engaging the community, and create effective communications and will engage in some or all of the following activities:
- Research approaches from other communities and assess their strengths
- Work with community members, educators, health professionals, and local organizations to explore ways these factors intersect with healthcare.
- Take action to raise awareness and understanding by creating presentations, posters, fact sheets, and/or reports.
[Updated January 2021]
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