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Population Health Forum
Advocating for Action Toward a Healthier Society

Stephen Bezruchka's talk on Social Determinants of Health at the Virginia Mason Hospital, for its SDOH CME day

Stephen Bezruchka's TedXUofW talk

Bezruchka's TedxRainer talk

Equality Trust.

Dedicated to the concept that more equal societies work better for everyone.

Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?

2008 PBS documentary.

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IOM Report cover

U.S. Health in International Perspective:
Shorter Lives, Poorer Health

In its 2013 report "U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health," the Institute of Medicine (IOM) gave recognition to the ideas presented by the Population Health Forum—we in the US die younger than people in the other rich nations.

You can read or download the report and a summary on the IOM site.

United States of America:
"BIG GAP" Society
SICKEST Population

WHY do people in these countries live longer than we do in the United States?

OUR GREATEST HEALTH HAZARD is the economic "gap" between the rich and the poor. With greater economic inequality comes worse health — lower life expectancy and higher mortality rates. The U.S. spends the most money on health care, but falls behind the other rich nations in life expectancy.

All of the countries that rank higher in the Health Olympics have a smaller gap in income distribution between their richest and poorest citizens.


Health Olympics chart 2018
(from From UN 2019 Statistical Update)

See a table of these rankings.

6 STEPS you can take
to help close the gap.

  1. Fight for JUSTICE to reduce the gap between rich and poor. Being active as a public citizen is good for your health.
  2. Advocate for SUPPORTING EARLY LIFE. Perhaps half of our health as adults is programmed in the first thousand days after conception. Healthier societies are those where this period is supported through paid pregnancy leave and paid leave for parents after birth.
  3. Promote FRIENDSHIPS AND SOCIAL CONNECTIONS within your family and community. Know and share with your neighbors. Communities where people trust and help one another are healthier than places with less cooperation.
  4. Work to increase WOMEN’S STATUS AND OPPORTUNITIES in society. Where women’s status is higher, everyone’s health is better. When women have a larger role in society, it’s good for all of us.
  5. Strive to end stressful, low-paid WORK. A sense of control and a decent workplace go along with the right to have a union and a commitment to end discrimination at work. We must improve working conditions for everyone.
  6. JOIN the POPULATION HEALTH FORUM. Subscribe to our listserv, join us at our meetings, and consider organizing chapters in your communities. We want to hear your ideas for making the world a healthier place!

The Population Health Forum is a group of academics, citizens, students, and activists across several nations who work to build support for changing the rules of society so that better health comes naturally.


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