‘Population Health’ hopes to foster health equity at UH
UH launched an initiative called “Population Health” in an effort to create health equity in Houston and the state.
Spearheaded by the University’s chief population health officer Bettina Beech, the program aims to address health care issues through tackling areas like food, behaviors, environment and the health care system as a whole.
“The way I like to explain it is that population health is sort of a bridge between public health and medicine,” Beech said. “It’s a way of taking the principles and sensibilities of public health, which looks at large groups, the general population, but then translating that over to medicine, looking at subgroups, rather than individuals.”
At the moment, health care professionals look at problems one patient at a time, according to Beech. Through this new initiative, UH hopes to look at panels and groups of patients to address health problems.
“Healthcare now needs to look at panels of patients in groups of patients, but that’s not the orientation of medicine,” Beech said. “‘Population Health’ sort of sits as a bridge between the two with an intense focus on health equity.”
The initiative comes in response to improving the health of all populations and a hope to create equity in health, Beech said.
“In order to really improve the health of populations, we really need changes that happen across our lives,” she said. “So we need housing that’s healthy, we need transportation that’s accessible, we need health care that is safe and equitable.”
The initiative will then integrate majors across UH to help achieve this goal that the initiative hopes to achieve.
“By introducing population health across majors, we will graduate architects that create healthier buildings and design healthier buildings,” Beech said. “We will have business people that take those principles in mind as they’re working in their industries, we will have physicians that we graduate that understand more about a population health approach and how to integrate that into their clinical practice.”
Beech hopes this initiative will have a lasting impact on populations in both the city and state.