June 11, 2014
We’ve just completed our third in a series of community conversations around Education, Income and Health, to help us develop strategies and focus our action based on these community outcomes.
To understand the healthcare climate, we hosted 18 community conversations with nearly 200 participants and conducted over 30 expert interviews with top professionals in the field. We talked with a diverse group of community members – those with private insurance, public insurance and no insurance, and crossed socio-economic classes, occupations and geographic locations in the county. Our goal is to learn about their aspirations, concerns and discuss existing barriers to quality, affordable health care. This allows us to identify the main themes and emerging issues so we can plan the best strategy for mobilizing stakeholders and partners to create opportunities for change in San Diego.
We listened; and these are some common themes:
• Lack of adequate access to affordable quality care
“Access to mental health services is terrible. The system is only designed to serve the most chronic and severely mentally ill and there is just limited access for the ‘walking wounded’, those who are functional but suffering silently.”
• Lack of universal access to affordable healthy food
“I want equal access to healthcare and health education for everyone, not only knowing about proper diet but also having food accessible everywhere for proper eating. Poorer areas should not only have junk food available for them at corner stores.”
• Navigation of complicated, fragmented systems
“It’s like a maze to get through the healthcare system.”
What the national data and research tells us:
• Two-thirds of adults and nearly one-third of children and teens are obese or overweight.
• There are nearly 177 million Americans at increased risk for more than 20 major diseases including type-2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
• Roughly 133 million Americans already have one of these conditions.
• Economic cost is enormous and growing. If we could lower obesity trends (as measured by BMI) by 5% in each state, we could save millions of Americans from serious health issues and save billions in health spending.
The next step will be to form our Health Vision Council so we can determine the role we will play to address these issues, before implementing the plan.
All of United Way of San Diego County's community conversations are driven by data, informed by research and confirmed by the community – so we can make the most informed decisions and properly evaluate and communicate the results.
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