How do policy and politics influence the social conditions that generate health outcomes?
Reduced life expectancy, worsening health outcomes, health inequity, and declining health care options—these are now realities for most Americans. However, in a country of more than 325 million people, addressing everyone's issues is challenging. How can we effect beneficial change for everyone so we all can thrive? What is the great equalizer?
In this book, Daniel E. Dawes argues that political determinants of health create the social drivers—including poor environmental conditions, inadequate transportation, unsafe neighborhoods, and lack of healthy food options—that affect all other dynamics of health. By understanding these determinants, their origins, and their impact on the equitable distribution of opportunities and resources, we will be better equipped to develop and implement actionable solutions to close the health gap.
Dawes draws on his firsthand experience helping to shape major federal policies, including the Affordable Care Act, to describe the history of efforts to address the political determinants that have resulted in health inequities. Taking us further upstream to the underlying source of the causes of inequities, Dawes examines the political decisions that lead to our social conditions, makes the social determinants of health more accessible, and provides a playbook for how we can address them effectively. A thought-provoking and evocative account that considers both the policies we think of as "health policy" and those that we don't, The Political Determinants of Health provides a novel, multidisciplinary framework for addressing the systemic barriers preventing the United States from becoming the healthiest nation in the world.
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