Ryan Meili uses powerful personal stories to argue that we must better address the social determinants of health (SDOH)on the political agenda for a truly healthy society.
Yesterday, the Wellesley Institute hosted Meili in a casual forum to discuss what kind of policy changes we need to see to be able to have the kinds of changes happen that will positively impact people’s lives.
Meili has been praised for his pioneering work as a co-founder of the Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health (SWITCH): an inner-city clinic that gives students from a broad spectrum of disciplines the change to serve Saskatoon’s core communities. He engages with the social determinants of health as head of the Division of Social Accountability at the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, and lead’s the College’s Making the Links program, which gives student’s first-hand knowledge of social health factors. Stories from these everyday interactions with patients craft a call to action to our government.
The social determinants of health need to be better understood, and more broadly communicated throughout the general public, and throughout government in order for them to be acted on. An acceptance of the impact of the SDOH will lead us to smarter, better public policy.
So the challenge to all of us in the field, is how do we bring the SDOH to the policy table? And how do we begin to truly communicate its importance?