Perfectly Positioned: Galvanizing Nurses To Address The Social Determinants Of Health

With research showing that social and economic factors—such as access to high-quality jobs, education, and housing—have a greater impact on health outcomes than does the medical care a person receives, philanthropy is increasingly funding initiatives that address these social determinants of health. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) committed itself in 2015 to a bold new vision: to work alongside others to build a national Culture of Health, which provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.

At nearly 4 million people strong, nurses in the United States are perfectly positioned to do just that—but they need the resources to address the social determinants of health.

The RWJF has commissioned The Future of Nursing 2020-2030, a consensus study to be conducted by the National Academy of Medicine, to gain insights into how nurses are—and can be—change agents to achieve healthier communities. Planned for release at the end of 2020, the study will help guide nurses and institutions to work together on better understanding and addressing the social determinants of health and the unmet needs of individuals and communities. The RWJF believes that the nursing profession—consistently ranked as the most trusted health professionals—can, and should be, called upon to address the important social and health inequities confronting the United States in the twenty-first century. The RWJF has invested more than $671 million in initiatives to strengthen the nursing profession since the foundation’s start in 1972, and addressing inequities has been among the goals of its funding for nurse initiatives in recent years.

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