The Health Ecosystem
It happens at the doctor’s office. But it happens in other places, too: around the dinner table. At the office. In the living room. The classroom. The park.
It’s health. What you eat; where you live, learn and play; and the relationships you have with others are just a few of the ways it happens — and a few of the things we mean when we say “health.”
Dell Medical School’s goal is to improve health, not just health care. Our experts, working alongside others in the community, are as focused on addressing what experts call the socioeconomic, behavioral and structural drivers of health as creating new models of person-centered, multidisciplinary care that reward value.
In this way, we consider ourselves part of a wide-ranging health ecosystem and strive for a vital, inclusive environment.
The Components of a Health Ecosystem
A health ecosystem includes dynamic interaction between interdependent, interconnected:
Individuals (who often discover or reveal innovations and processes) affect their own health, the health of others, and the work of institutions that respond to changes in health.
These may focus on health care; studying or influencing behaviors or social determinants of health; or shaping lives through policy, legislation, incentives and more.
Schools and workplaces are among these that impact health and health care.
These exist within communities and neighborhoods.
Drugs, devices, diagnostics, digital systems and other tools that contribute to a better health care experience or that improve health at home are included in this category.
Dell Med’s Role in the Health Ecosystem
Academic medical centers are traditionally organized to train students, provide care to patients and facilitate research in pursuit of new treatments and drugs. But some experts are calling for the creation of a fourth area of focus around cultural and community issues. Dell Med is organized in just this way, with a mission dedicated to advancing society’s interest in health — to fixing the problems facing our communities. This dedication is further cemented by the community-wide effort that led to the creation of Dell Med in 2014.
In a health ecosystem, actions in one area affect others. Decisions made locally or far away — by a school board, a city’s planning department, a food company or a neighborhood group — all impact a person’s health.
Mini Kahlon, Ph.D., Vice Dean for the Health Ecosystem