HEALTH DISPARITIES: New Center to Tackle Social Aspects of Health Care
Continuing its efforts to determine how factors such as income, race and social status influence public health, the Center for Health and Community at the University of California-San Francisco christen its offices Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The CHC includes a group of 250 researchers -- anthropologists, sociologists and other social scientists -- who question the current emphasis on "mechanical medicine." CHC Director Nancy Adler said, "There's more to health than your genes and organs. Who you are, where you live and how you live makes a huge difference." Although the group has operated for several years at UCSF, Adler hopes that the opening of the CHC's offices will "raise the visibility of their work." U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, who will officiate Thursday's ceremony, said, "The center is one of those places that will be very important if we hope to eliminate the disparities in health between different racial, ethnic and economic groups. ... We have set a 10-year goal of eliminating disparities in health care between racial, ethnic and economic groups." While traditional scientists contend that new drugs and devices offer the best solution for fighting disease, Adler's group targets the "social dimension" of illnesses, arguing that "people who feel in charge of their lives are healthier ... have greater disease resistance and ... are more apt to have milder symptoms." Adler also claims that the "best way to improve health is through community organization," although she warns against the efforts of "visiting do-gooders." She said, "Two things have failed in the past. Academics have failed when they parachuted into a community, and communities have failed when they didn't have the expertise." In addition to conducting research, the CHC will help community groups obtain public and private grants to fund public health campaigns (Abate, 9/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.