How Do Social Factors Affect People's Health and Longevity?

World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health Meets in New Orleans

Field of Work: The impact of social factors on people’s health

Problem Synopsis: People with limited access to money, education, housing and jobs tend to live shorter and less healthy lives than their more fortunate peers.

Synopsis of the Work: The WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health met November 18-20, 2007 in New Orleans to discuss how social factors impact people’s health. After the meeting, the Satcher Institute launched a project in New Orleans to counteract the role social factors played in whether people were able to recover emotionally from the devastation wrought by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Key Results: Satcher Institute staff reported that the meeting drew attention in the United States to the work of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health through a three-day meeting in November 2007 that engaged a diverse group of nearly 50 attendees. It also created a network of professionals who continue to share ideas and collaborate on myriad projects to address the link between social factors and the quality of people’s health.

The Satcher Institute also hosted group counseling sessions for children of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans in 2009 and 2010 as well as a complementary group of meetings for the children’s parents in 2010.