Dr. David Carlisle Presents on the Social Determinants of Health in L.A. County
CDU President and CEO David Carlisle recently appeared at the first hearing of the State of California’s Assembly Select Committee on the Social Determinants of Health.
Dr. Carlisle was invited to this important kickoff meeting to provide his perspective as an expert in medicine and public health on the scope and impact of social determinants of health (SDOH) in general and on underserved and under-resourced populations in Southern California and South Los Angeles in particular.
The purpose of the event was to examine the importance of exploring how various societal factors affect a person’s health outcome and how data can be utilized to inform state and local policy toward health equity for all citizens. Social determinants of health are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality-of-life risks and outcomes.
Dr. Carlisle took aim at highlighting the various SODH-related outcomes faced by Service Planning Area 6 (SPA6), a region defined by the Los Angeles County Department of Health which includes South Los Angeles and the home of CDU. “In the SPA6 sector, we are the largest geographically-defined under-served population in the U.S.,” stated Dr. Carlisle. “South Los Angeles has a larger population than major cities such as Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and others, but lacks healthcare accessibility and health system trust.”
Research has shown that the social determinants of health can be more important than health care or lifestyle choices in determining health outcomes. Earlier this year, a study published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities found that adverse social determinants of health are the strongest predictor of high COVID-19 mortality rates. With only two hospitals covering the South Los Angeles area, SDOH are key causes of high mortality and case rates due to COVID-19.
Dr. Carlisle’s testimony will join those from others who also participated in this first meeting hosted by Dr. Akilah Weber, Assemblymember of California’s 79th District, to help shape future state policies and programs.
The committee will continue to hold interdisciplinary hearings to discuss the impact of these social determinants and make policy recommendations on how best to improve the health, educational, economic, environmental and societal outcomes for all Californians.