Although the term “social care” is common in high income countries like Sweden and the U.K., until recently it had little to no currency in U.S. public health discourse. Looking to turn the tide is a new report compiled by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that marshals substantial evidence behind a simple premise:
When the social conditions of people improve, their health does, too.
Titled “Integrating Social Care into the Delivery of Health Care: Moving Upstream to Improve the Nation’s Health”, the report identifies emergent systems level opportunities for aligning the interests and activities of healthcare and social care organizations. Its recommendations spell out solutions for anyone interested in making health systems more inclusive, sustainable, and befitting of an era defined by demographic change.
In a country where poor coordination and siloed design widen gaps otherwise bridgeable, so incisive and pragmatic a resource deserves our full attention. Over the course of this series I will give it mine—but not before clarifying what social care is, why it is so important, and why it has taken us this long to catch on.
Originally Published on Forbes (October 25, 2019)