Social Determinants of Urban Mental Health Conference

September 19-20, 2012

Hosted by the Adler School of Professional Psychology—Institute on Social Exclusion

Remarks from Jane Isaacs Lowe, Senior Advisor for Program Development

Jane Lowe / RWJF

Why I Spoke at This Event

As a foundation, our heightened awareness of social factors as key determinants of health has reframed our search for new solutions and pathways to improving health.  In seeking ideas with the potential for big, positive change, we recognize the need to look at health more broadly — to set aside the conventional silos and instead search out the connections between health and education, housing, public safety, and employment.

At the Social Determinants of Urban Mental Health Conference, I shared the approach that we at RWJF are bringing to our work around social determinants of health. I also shared information about some our grantees whose work addresses the interplay between social factors and physical and mental health and well-being: Health Leads, Cure Violence (formerly CeaseFire), Child First, and The Network for Better Futures.

I'm happy to be a part of this conversation at the conference and I think it's one that's urgently needed. 

Learn more about Team Director Jane Isaacs Lowe 


Recap from the Conference

Recap from the conference

Visit our Foundation's Storify where we share highlights and resources from the conference. 

  • "All of you in this room have the potential to be strong advocates for making health matter as you are on the front line of delivering care to the most vulnerable and marginalized of populations and you know how lives can be transformed by your work." -—Jane Isaacs Lowe

Read Lowe's blog post at NewPublicHealth about Mental Health Impact Assessments and the work of our grantees around the mental health of urban populations.

About the Program

The Vulnerable Populations Portfolio creates new opportunities for better health by investing in health where it starts—in our homes, schools, and jobs.

Explore our strategy ›

Our Grantees Are Improving Urban Health

Cure Violence Meeting with young boys

Cure Violence

Reducing violence among young people.

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Health Leads; two people in office at desks.

Health Leads

Meeting patients' basic needs -- like food and housing -- in order to meet their health needs.

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 A young smiling boy gives a peace sign.


Improving children's health by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play.

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Better Futures Enterprises

Providing essential support services for men being released from prison.

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Health Care's Blind Side Overlooked Connection Between Social Needs and Good Health

Health Care's Blind Side

Health Care's Blind Side Overlooked Connection Between Social Needs and Good Health

Exploring Solutions that Address Patients' Social Needs

In April, we hosted a discussion with prominent health care leaders to explore solutions to address patients' social needs. Participants posed ways to connect patients to needed resources in the community that can improve their health. They also discussed and debated the business case for physicians, clinics, and hospitals to bridge the gap in treating medical and social needs.

Our grantee Health Leads represented one solution that is effectively integrating patients' social needs into health care delivery.

View the webinar presentation and forum discussion

Read results from a national survey of physicians