Dr. Jack Geiger, co-founder of America’s Community Health Centers, stresses the tie between economic status and overall patient health.
“Top priority goes to serving people. And all these patients are seen as people whose health needs are bound up with other circumstances of their lives .”
From the very beginning community health centers have recognized that health status is extremely dependent upon social and economic factors that’s why Dr. Geiger has said that Health centers have to be a lever for social change.
We’ve had a decade of research to say attention and discussion to the social determinants of health. We know that to be born poor is to live a shorter, sicker life. We know that a childhood and poverty, literally, is embodied in changes in the brain and brain structure that clearly have something to do with subsequent illness, poverty, and a shorter life.
And so we are really starting again to pay attention to intervene upstream in the root causes of what are making people sick and I expect community health centers to have a new life in that kind of social and environmental intervention as part of their work that characterized the community health centers at the beginning.