TEDxABQ – Art Kaufman – Health Extension: Learning from Farmers How to Improve Community Health

TEDxABQ - Art Kaufman - Health Extension: Learning from Farmers How to Improve Community Health

we spend more on health care but have the worst health of any Western country when you spend a dollar on health care you're not getting the dollars worth of health in fact 90% of that dollar only affects 10% of what makes communities healthy so from a community health perspective you can throw most of that dollar away but if you could spend that dollar on better jobs better housing food what we call the social determinants of health we could have the healthiest country in the world the heart of these social determinants affect community health well let's take the example in New Mexico of deaths from diabetes Native Americans have some of the best health care for their diabetes but they have the highest death rates from that disease and why is that because despite the high quality medical care they receive it cannot make up for years of high unemployment low educational attainment poor nutrition and high stress all of those things that make diabetes so much worse now this came home to me personally when I was in clinic one day and a single mother brought her twelve-year-old morbidly obese child to see me I said he's got to be in that gym exercising every day at school she said ain't gonna happen the school budget was cut and they eliminated Jim I said okay when he comes from from school and what that TV turned off I don't want him outside playing she said that's not gonna happen either I work two jobs I come home eight o'clock at night my neighborhood is so filled with gangs and wild dogs it's too dangerous for me it's a lot safer if he's inside and TV is a chief babysitter so these social and economic forces undermine my ability to treat my patient if doctors and nurses are going to affect the social determinants in their communities they're gonna have to find community partners but what do you find these partners I found one in the agricultural Cooperative Extension agents I watched how they help youth development through their 4-h clubs to help farm families nutrition through their home economics program and they help farmers increase their crop yields and increase their income they were addressing the social determinants of disease so I decided to partner with them and we developed health Extension agents building on their model and we've deployed these agents all over the state and they're improving the impact of our health system on community health by addressing social determinants for example they help decrease the isolation of elderly by introducing them to the internet they help in food insecure areas of the state building local food pantries and they help youth get excited about staying in school and entering health careers which would be the big employers in the future and now I need you we need you to become partners to further expand the impact of our health system on community health I need you to become health Extension agents on your own profession in your own field addressing social determinants in your home community

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