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HonorHealth: the key to a long, healthy life includes non-medical factors

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With a focus of making health and social services accessible to the most vulnerable members of our community, HonorHealth Desert Mission has been improving the health and well-being of community members of all ages. (Graphic Illustration: Terrance Thornton/DigitalFreePress)
HonorHealth experts discuss Blue Zones and the nature of a healthy environment
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Where you live, learn, work and play impacts your health.

These non-medical factors may not be the first thing you think of when talking about your health, but research shows they influence your behaviors and choices. Referred to as social determinants of health, or SDoH, they can raise or lower your risk for developing chronic diseases.

“Social determinants of health play a crucial role in shaping your well-being and health outcomes,” says Priya Radhakrishnan, MD, internal medicine physician, chief academic officer and vice president of Health Equity at HonorHealth. “Understanding and addressing these are essential for improving the health of our patients and our community, and creating a deeper level of care that will help them live their best life.”

According to Radhakrishnan, the determinants of health fall into one of five categories:

● Economic stability and financial resources.
● Food insecurity or not being able to afford healthy foods.
● Access to, and understanding of, healthcare services.
● The neighborhood you live in.
● Your relationships with family, friends and community members.

HonorHealth’s history of addressing these issues in the Valley dates back nearly 100 years through its work at HonorHealth Desert Mission.

With a focus of making health and social services accessible to the most vulnerable members of our community, HonorHealth Desert Mission has been improving the health and well-being of community members of all ages through programs that embrace the power of resiliency and foster self-sufficiency.

The areas of focus there include early childhood development and education, senior enrichment, food access and nutrition support, and financial coaching and resource navigation.

Haeli J. Miceli

“Income is a significant determinant of health,” according to Haeli J. Miceli, MPA, executive director, HonorHealth Desert Mission. “Healthcare accounts for only 20% of a person’s health status. In order to improve health outcomes for vulnerable families, we need to address the root causes of social and economic factors that influence health, such as education, employment and financial stability.”

HonorHealth also conducts community health needs assessments every three years to understand which diseases and other issues are affecting our community and impacting their ability to live a healthy life. After which, HonorHealth develops an implementation plan with steps the organization will take over the next three years to improve outcomes on what was identified through the assessments.

Todd Laporte

“As a locally run nonprofit, HonorHealth’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of those we serve,” says Todd LaPorte, HonorHealth CEO.

“Annually, our community investment of more than $500 million targets gaps in regional health needs through financial assistance to help patients afford healthcare, supporting community programs that promote health to all, educating future and current healthcare workers.”

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