National Academy of Medicine

Building the Science for a Population Health Movement

By Nancy Adler, Christine Bachrach, Dorothy Daley, Michelle Frisco
December 03, 2013 | Discussion Paper

In this discussion paper, Adler and colleagues argue that research and action must go hand in hand in the movement for population health improvement. Their paper traces the integrative and rapidly evolving nature of recent developments in the field, with increasing collaboration across disciplines to build a “multilevel understanding of health, from cells to society.” The authors call for building better bridges among researchers, policy makers, and practitioners to create an innovative, continuously updated learning environment. They also identify several areas where more research is needed, including: understanding how social and economic disadvantage “gets under the skin” to shape health outcomes, learning how to “isolate the effects of a single aspect of the environment from the multiple confounding effects of the social system in which it is embedded,” and finding explanations for why we are seeing increasing mortality among those lacking a high school degree, and especially among white women.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.