The social and structural drivers of health — the things in life like access to financial resources, job opportunities, healthy food and education — matter as much to a person’s health as visits to the doctor or stays in the hospital.
Work in the healthscape extends beyond the four walls of the clinic to improve health in the landscape of people’s lives, helping them get and stay healthy wherever they are and contributing to building healthy, resilient communities across Central Texas.
From developing sustainable approaches to care for those without homes to delivering cancer screening kits right to people’s front doors to testing the effect of empathy-based friendly phone calls on loneliness, we’re meeting people where they are.
Areas of Focus
Dell Med’s Factor Health program supports the development and sustainable funding of interventions that address the nonmedical drivers of health. The school is also working with partners to identify areas of shared interest for community impact work and to embed “health in all policies” where it can influence government and private industry to do so.
In places like People’s Community Clinic, Dell Med is creating mechanisms to facilitate data sharing so organizations working in health can benefit from each other’s knowledge. Teams are also working on ways to leverage existing data to help doctors identify risk factors that will help them better care for their patients.
Dell Med is building community engagement programs to get input from those who have been most challenged in getting and staying healthy — and to put that input to work, often in partnership with other community-serving organizations. The school’s Community-Driven Initiatives program seeks to support and implement health solutions proposed by and for residents of Austin and Central Texas communities.
Innovation & Policy
In addition, Dell Med sponsors a number of platforms to advance innovation in health, including the Innovation District, which connects Austin’s network of innovators and organizers focused on health. It is also working alongside partners to help develop Austin’s strengths in product development and innovation. The CoLab at Dell Medical School, a hub for product innovation and entrepreneurship, is one example.
Finally, experts work to inform health policy to create sustainable, innovative models.
Together with those in our community, we’re thinking about new ways to support health beyond the clinic. Part of this work includes exploring economic models that reward programs that help people get and stay healthy.
Maninder “Mini” Kahlon, Ph.D., Vice Dean, Health Ecosystem