Where is the "Health" in Health Care?
| Aug 1, 2014 1:00 PM
Accountability in health care is a double-edged sword.
On one edge, health care delivery systems, which in the face of health care reform must be accountable to deliver the right care, to the right patient, at the right time. On the other edge, our patients, who, often as their own best medicine, must be accountable for their lifestyles as best their individual circumstances allow.
As health care providers in academic health sciences centers, we are trained in the art of restoring health, usually for the acutely or severely ill or injured. Health care reforms demand that we increase the scope of our missions and services to broaden our scope—to become the lifelong partners in health with the members of our community. Increasingly, we will be rewarded for moving our health system this way. We will see our financial models move from a revenue stream that thrived on the more we did, to a savings model that thrives on a healthy population.
While we in health care believe we are the greatest drivers of health, in fact the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 75% of our health care dollars are spent on preventable diseases. With two-thirds of Americans reported to be overweight and with chronic and costly metabolic conditions like diabetes on the rise, the time has come to focus our expertise on health prevention and maintenance in a way that engages individuals in their own well-being, successfully.
Fortunately, in the world of health promotion and wellness, we have a leg up—and its not because we know more complicated yoga poses.
An integral part of University of Utah Health Sciences, the College of Health gives us the opportunity to bring all our academic, scientific and delivery expertise to bear on both wellness and recovery as key components of our mission. With Departments and Divisions ranging from Health Promotion & Education, Nutrition, Exercise and Sports Science, to the therapeutic side—Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Communications Sciences & Disorders, and even Parks, Recreation and Tourism with, among its strengths, recreational therapy. With the expertise in the College of Health, the Health Sciences can build an ecology of health, and focus on all aspects of health both before it is needed and after it has been restored.
In the last year, Dr. Robin L. Marcus, associate professor of physical therapy, served successfully as interim Dean of the College of Health. She truly laid the groundwork for the evolution of the college, holding engaging retreats with the College and the health care delivery system that led to several health and wellness pilot and research projects currently underway—including a worksite clinic in pilot development for main campus. This project in particular is a true cross-campus collaboration incorporating partnerships between main campus, OC Med, our health plan, COH, the PA and Nursing programs and many others. Robin worked tirelessly to help the COH integrate with Health Sciences (and main campus) and contributed greatly to the recruitment of her replacement, Dr. David H. Perrin.
David will join us on August 1st, as the new dean of the COH. He is a renowned expert in the field of athletic training and a seasoned educator, mentor and administrator, having recently arrived from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, where he served as Dean and then Provost. David’s experience will serve the COH well at a key moment in its development. As we build out our ambulatory care facilities, provide better access for our patients and further enhance our ability to deliver population health, our system must be as good at keeping people healthy as we are at restoring health. Under the guidance of Dr. Perrin, I am confident the COH will be a leader in this mission.
We are also delighted to announce that Dr. Marcus has agreed to serve as the inaugural health sciences Chief Wellness Officer, effective immediately. Robin will champion wellness initiatives across campus and in this senior role, will ensure that the health sciences and health care delivery system develop and ever stronger focus on health and wellness to serve our communities.
Please join me in welcoming and congratulating Drs. Perrin and Marcus on their new roles.
A press release about this announcement is available on the health sciences Web site.
Author: Vivian S. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.
About the Author: Dr. Vivian S. Lee is the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Utah, Dean of the University of Utah School of Medicine, and CEO of University of Utah Health Care. Read her full bio herecomments powered by Disqus