AAHC Board Endorses Commitment to Address the Social Determinants of Health

Apr 24, 2012, 09:52 ET from Association of Academic Health Centers

Academic Health Centers Provide Critical Leadership and Investment in Knowledge, Expertise, and Infrastructure Essential to Population Health

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Board of Directors of the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC) confirmed the importance of AAHC's social determinants initiative at a recent meeting stating:

The AAHC Board of Directors endorses AAHC's commitment to advancing the focus of our member institutions on the social determinants of health.  Because the social determinants of health play such an important role in overall health and well-being, the Board supports AAHC's efforts to enhance the ability of academic health centers to respond to these critical factors in their education, research, and clinical programs.

"Although the foundational determinants of health are communicable and noncommunicable disease, individual, community, and population health can be significantly affected by environmental, social, and behavioral determinants as well," said Dr. Steven A. Wartman, AAHC President and CEO, in announcing the Board's statement, adding that "because academic health centers are the nation's safety-net healthcare providers, our members increasingly view addressing these social determinants as a moral obligation and institutional mission."

Stating his appreciation for the Board's decision, Dr. Wartman noted the critical importance of AAHC and academic health centers in taking up leadership and momentum on this initiative. Academic health centers can:

  • Organize their institutions to foster better communication amongst health professions and other disciplines, encouraging collaboration in the education of our future health workforce as well as in the research enterprise; and
  • Coordinate efforts with partners in the community for improved understanding of the impact of the social determinants of health and how best to address them.

"In endorsing AAHC's commitment to addressing social factors that undermine people's health, the Board acknowledges the unique ability of academic health centers to proactively identify and address evolving and future issues to improve the health and well-being of people in their communities, the nation, and around the globe," said Victor J. Dzau, MD, Chancellor of Health Affairs at Duke University, President and CEO of Duke University Health System, the James B. Duke Professor of Medicine, and AAHC Board Chair.

The AAHC, representing more than 100 academic health centers nationwide, is a national non-profit association dedicated to advancing the nation's health and well-being through the vigorous leadership of academic health centers.  

SOURCE Association of Academic Health Centers