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Improving Health in Hard-to-Reach Communities

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 15:22:29 GMT

The health impact pyramid offers a framework for considering the relative significance of socioeconomic determinants of health and for prioritizing interventions that may be effective in improving health outcomes in hard-to-reach and rural populations. Barriers to health care delivery in rural settings are outlined with examples provided. Demonstration projects in East and West Texas are reviewed. Those programs reach unique populations such as agricultural and migrant workers and those with mental illness by using innovative approaches, such as the use of specially trained community health workers and telehealth and telemedicine. Having a health impact on hard-to-reach groups and rural populations is largely a function of overcoming numerous barriers. Adopting a population health approach that engages the community in overcoming those barriers is likely to be more effective in producing improved health outcomes.



MD Anderson's Population Health Approaches to Cancer Prevention

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 14:52:16 GMT

Texas's size and unique population demographics present challenges to addressing the state's cancer burden. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is one of 69 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers across the United States. While these centers traditionally have focused on research, education and training, and providing research-driven patient care, they are in a unique position to collaboratively advance population health through cancer control. Unlike the traditional academic model of a three-legged stool representing research, education, and patient care, MD Anderson's mission includes a fourth leg that incorporates population health approaches. MD Anderson has leveraged state- and national-level data and freely available resources to develop population-health priorities and a set of evidence-based actions across policy, public and professional education, and community-based clinical service domains to address these priorities. Population health approaches complement dissemination and implementation research and treatment, and will be increasingly needed to address the growing cancer burden in Texas and the nation.



Measuring and Managing Population Health

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 14:31:30 GMT

Health care delivery and health promotion require timely, accurate, and useful information. Nowhere are useful data more needed than population health management. Although mountains of health-related data exist, useful information is often diffuse, poorly organized, and often inaccurate and incomplete, and doesn't serve those providing health care to individual patients, managing care for groups of patients, or promoting health for communities. Information and communication technologies are rapidly evolving to enhance population health management. These tools include electronic health records, health information exchanges, patient portals and personal health records, telemedicine and virtual health tools, the internet and social media, mobile devices, and wearable sensors. We describe each of these emerging health technologies and their future opportunities for enhancing population health.



The State of Health in Texas

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 14:23:37 GMT

At the beginning of the 20th century, the major health threats to individual and community health in the United States were infectious diseases, injuries due to unsafe workplaces, diseases due to poor nutrition, and poor maternal and infant health. During the next 100-plus years, tremendous advances were made in longevity and health status. As the impact of certain historically significant diseases decreased, however, the pattern of public/population disease burden became dominated by chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, and cancer. In Texas in 2015, chronic diseases made up the top four causes of death. Public health professionals are largely focused on identifying the risk factors for these chronic diseases via enhanced morbidity and mortality surveillance. In addition to health care providers and the health care sector, a cross-section of other stakeholders, including businesses, communities, and social services, must work collaboratively, creatively, and effectively to reduce the chronic disease burden.