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Dan Polsky, IOM Report, Community-Based Prevention Framework

  • Saturday, 3 November 2012

LDI Senior Fellow and Executive Director Dan Polsky, PhD, MPP, is a member of the 15-person study committee that produced the just-released Institute of Medicine framework for assessing the value of community-based prevention.

Sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the California Endowment and the de Beaumont Foundation, the project sought to create new methodologies for assessing the efficacy and impact of non-clinical, population-based prevention policies and wellness strategies.

The committee's first task was to identify the major criteria for that process and then
Dan Polsky
define the specifics of how the system should work. An IOM statement noted that there are eight existing frameworks for this purpose but none met the new criteria in an era when unhealthy eating habits, smoking, lack of exercise and other behavioral drivers of chronic ailments have overtaken communicable disease as major causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States.

Additional research
The committee also called for additional research to develop a single metric for quantifying community well-being as well as a method for combining community well-being and community process indicators with health data to create a single indicator of overall community benefit.

"The committee that drafted this report consisted of an eclectic mix of public health researchers, health economists, community-based participatory researchers, and an ethicist," said Polsky. "The new framework in this report is a reflection of the hard work of merging approaches from different academic disciplines."

Focused on interventions
The 180-page report looks at interventions focused on populations to prevent disease from occurring, increase behaviors conducive to better health and well-being and, when disease does occur, slow or stop its progress, reduce or eliminate its negative consequences, and decrease disparities that result in the current inequitable distribution of health.

The report emphasized that the committee's framework was just the first step and that "additional efforts will be needed to build consensus on the important key outcomes."

Read the 4-page IOM press brief.

Download the full IOM report.

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