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HealthPartners article in CDC publication urges policies that address social determinants of health

April 15, 2016

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — In order to improve the health of people in the United States, policy makers need to expand their focus from health care to a broader focus of improving well-being as a whole, say HealthPartners experts in an article published in the current issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventing Chronic Disease.

Authors Thomas E. Kottke, MD, MSPH, HealthPartners Medical Director of Well-being; Nicolaas Pronk, PhD, HealthPartners Vice President and Chief Science Officer; and Matt Stiefel, MPA, MS, Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute Senior Director of Population Health, argue that many factors contribute to health, including education, financial security, public safety and other factors. They argue that widespread well-being, rather than a narrow definition of health, should be the ultimate goal of social policies.

HealthPartners cited as a model organization for improving community well-being

The article features HealthPartners policies that promote overall well-being in addition to health. Examples include partnerships with schools, foundations, non-profits and government agencies that address nonclinical determinants of health. The article notes that in addition to being held responsible for clinical care goals, HealthPartners leaders are also held responsible for making progress toward nonclinical goals.

Examples of these well-being partnerships and initiatives with measurable goals include:

  • YumPower, BearPower and PowerUp programs in local school districts to promote healthful nutrition and physical activity among students
  • Children’s Health Initiative to improve children’s health, well-being and development from birth to age 5
  • Advance Care Planning initiative to connect members and patients with resources on identifying a person to speak on their behalf in the event of an unexpected medical crisis
  • Make It OK campaign to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness and provide education on mental health

To read the full article, “Well-Being in All Policies: Promoting Cross-Sectoral Collaboration to Improve People’s Lives,” visit the CDC’s website.

About HealthPartners

HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. For more information, visit

Media contacts

Megan Granger
Communications consultant
651-629-0411 (pager)

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