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Community Forum: The Social Determinants of Health – October 21st

by The Berks Alliance

Oct 05, 2021

Research suggests that what happens in a doctor’s office is responsible for about 20 percent of a person’s health outcomes. The rest, the major factors in determining a person’s health is driven by personal behavior and the conditions and circumstance in that person lives. These factors are more influential in shaping an individual’s health. These conditions are called the social determinants of health and include things such as access to food and health services, education and employment, environmental conditions, income, housing (including the quality of the housing) and personal relationships.

To improve the individual health outcomes, to enhance the wellbeing of the broader community and to control the mounting costs of medical treatment, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has launched a statewide initiative to address these social determinants of health. DHS manages both the Medicaid Program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for Pennsylvania.

They have created a regional approach to this effort. Berks County is included in a Regional Health Council with twelve other counties in the Lehigh Valley and South-Central regions of the Commonwealth. This council has taken a deeper look at some of the challenges in Berks County, particularly in the city of Reading. These include sufficient access to food, an older housing stock, significant exposure to lead (largely through lead paint), access to transportation and access to broadband services and telemedicine. The incidence of diabetes, obesity, mental health issues and opioid addiction is higher in parts of our community.

The leaders of this regional effort will talk about their findings and outline the strategies that could be implemented to address these issues.

Join us for this important Community Forum. And we hope that you will join us for these other events:

  • The next program in Spotlight Series:  CollegeTowne and BCTV, Monday October 25th at 1PM
  • Our next Community Forum on November 18th at 11:30 on Transit Oriented Development.  As the possibility of passenger train service to Reading becomes more real, what lessons can we learn from other communities about the development opportunities it will bring.

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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