Four out of five physicians say unmet social needs — things like access to nutritious food, reliable transportation and adequate housing – are directly leading to worse health for Americans. But what if physicians were able to address these social barriers to good health head-on and prescribe food, housing and heating assistance the same way they prescribe antibiotics?
In clinics across the country, this is exactly what is happening. Founded by MacArthur fellow Rebecca Onie, Health Leads, a grantee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has pioneered an innovative model for enabling physicians and other clinicians to “prescribe” the basic resources their patients need to be healthy. By tapping into an engaged network of college students (such as the team at Johns Hopkins Medical Center shown in this video), Health Leads is overcoming health care’s blind side – physicians do not have the time or sufficient staff support to address patients’ social needs — and empowering health care providers to help remove the social barriers that keep people from taking the actions they need to be healthy.
• Learn more about Health Leads’ preventive care model and how it is being implemented in hospitals and clinics across the country: http://www.rwjf.org/en/grants/grantees/Health_Leads.html
• Health Leads is one example of new health care models bridging the gap between social needs and good health. The RWJF conducted a national survey of primary care providers and pediatricians to learn more about health care’s blind side. Learn more about the study: http://www.rwjf.org/en/research-publications/find-rwjf-research/2011/12/health-care-s-blind-side.html?cid=xpr_pp_001
• Watch Rebecca Onie’s talk at TEDMED: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoRUrWcdkQ4