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Suggested Citation:"6 Major Topics of the Workshop." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Private Sector as a Catalyst for Health Equity and a Vibrant Economy: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23529.
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6

Major Topics of the Workshop

In the final session of the workshop, Stephanie Taylor, the director of the USA Cluster Lead-Vaccines at the Center for Observational and Real World Evidence at Merck & Co., Inc., pointed to several major themes that emerged from the daylong event and suggested future actions that could follow from those themes. Although her remarks should not be seen as the findings or recommendations of the workshop as a whole, they provide a valuable recap of what happened at the workshop and where the discussions might lead.

MAKING THE BUSINESS CASE FOR CHANGE

Recalling the workshop’s keynote address (see Chapter 2), Taylor began by discussing the business case for health equity. “Inequality hurts business,” she said, “and it also hurts humanity.” She added that advocates for reducing health disparities have no stronger argument with business than that it helps their bottom line. Greater workforce productivity also promotes economic growth, which can have widespread benefits if public policies encourage the widespread distribution of those benefits, she said.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND HEALTH

Workforce development (see Chapter 3) has a wide variety of benefits for businesses and employees, but one of the most important is the promotion of employees’ and community health, Taylor observed. Having the skills and knowledge needed for good-paying jobs can give employees

Suggested Citation:"6 Major Topics of the Workshop." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Private Sector as a Catalyst for Health Equity and a Vibrant Economy: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23529.
×

the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. At the same time, these employees can improve the health of communities through their economic activity and promotion of health-enhancing behaviors.

Other benefits of workforce development can further reduce health inequities. Examples include training people who have been incarcerated for productive employment and giving young people the skills they need to integrate into the workforce.

INDIVIDUAL AND COMMUNITY HEALTH

The actions of health care systems, including those used by employers to care for their employees, can influence health equity (see Chapter 4). These actions might include employee health and wellness programs, the improved provision of health care through a social-determinants-of-health framework, reduction of health care costs, and better preparation of health care professionals, said Taylor. She particularly emphasized the importance of using data to inform interventions and the need for services that promote health equity. For example, better data can lead to quality initiatives among health care providers that improve care. In turn, improvements in care can help achieve the triple aim of better services, enhanced health, and a reduction in costs.

COMMUNITY TRANSFORMATION

In its examination of community transformation (see Chapter 5), the workshop opted to focus on successful models rather than a deficit model of describing health disparities, which Taylor lauded. Presenters also emphasized the importance of using existing resources, such as parks, public health programs, and neighborhood solidarity, to improve health equity. At the core of community transformation is meeting basic needs, Taylor emphasized. Health care, nutrition and physical activity services, transportation, violence prevention, and housing are essential for what she termed “holistic health enhancement.” Partnerships across governments, across the public and private sectors, and within communities are critical in meeting these needs and paving the way for vibrant and healthy communities, she explained.

POTENTIAL FUTURE ACTIONS

Finally, Taylor listed some of the future actions that could arise based on her observations at the workshop:

  • Reframe the issue of health equity around broader social issues.
  • Evaluate programs with an eye toward replication and scalability.
Suggested Citation:"6 Major Topics of the Workshop." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Private Sector as a Catalyst for Health Equity and a Vibrant Economy: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23529.
×
  • Continue to develop innovative models.
  • Use data effectively.
  • Look at the association between health equity and the workforce.
  • Leverage community resources, especially by tapping into entrepreneurs in communities.

In particular, she called attention to the need for a systems approach that recognizes the multifactorial nature of health equity. For example, mental health services, the criminal justice system, and the educational system all interact. “How do we make sure these programs work together so we can improve health equity?” she asked.

Suggested Citation:"6 Major Topics of the Workshop." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Private Sector as a Catalyst for Health Equity and a Vibrant Economy: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23529.
×

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Suggested Citation:"6 Major Topics of the Workshop." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Private Sector as a Catalyst for Health Equity and a Vibrant Economy: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23529.
×
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Suggested Citation:"6 Major Topics of the Workshop." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Private Sector as a Catalyst for Health Equity and a Vibrant Economy: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23529.
×
Page44
Suggested Citation:"6 Major Topics of the Workshop." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Private Sector as a Catalyst for Health Equity and a Vibrant Economy: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23529.
×
Page45
Suggested Citation:"6 Major Topics of the Workshop." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. The Private Sector as a Catalyst for Health Equity and a Vibrant Economy: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23529.
×
Page46
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A critical component of the nation’s economic vitality is ensuring that all Americans can contribute and prosper. Such contributions presuppose an intentional focus on achieving the highest levels of health possible, which requires that conditions in communities, schools workplaces, and other settings promote health and address the social determinants of health for all community members. Many organizations, in both the private and public sectors, have been establishing partnerships to further healthy workplaces and health equity in general. Many are taking the lead in producing economic growth that is inclusive and responsive to the nation’s diverse needs and populations. Increasingly, private–public partnerships are emerging as ways of doing business. Additionally, a variety of new developments in health, health care, and community benefits obligations that are part of the Affordable Care Act have contributed to this interest in economic growth and health and in the creation of new partnerships.

To examine past successes and future opportunities, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a workshop in November 2015. The workshop focused on the potential of the private sector to produce a triple bottom line: economic opportunity (including workforce development) and growth, healthy work and community environments, and improved employee health. At the same time, participants looked beyond the private sector to public–private partnerships and to public-sector actions that combine opportunities for economic growth and good health for all. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

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