Guns, Obesity, and Opioids

They may not seem related, but Dr. Sandro Galea, Dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, says we can approach guns, obesity and opioids in the same manner: population health. Dr. Galea breaks down the key concepts of population health – a relatively new field – during the inaugural Colloquium on Population Health and Health Equity at the UCSF School of Medicine.

Dr. Galea argues guns, obesity and opioids are the three epidemics of our time, and three of the main reasons life expectancy is declining in the United States. They also share three key characteristics: They are important, costly health concerns. They are complex. They are resistant to simple solutions. The key to overcoming these challenges Dr. Galea says, is using the population health approach.

He lists nine principles of population health, but focuses on four, including the concept that small changes in ubiquitous causes of health problems can have a greater impact than big changes to rare causes. Dr. Galea uses the example that while much has been done to curb the overprescription of opioids, the epidemic continues to grow. That’s because other options, like synthetic opioids, have become more widely available. Dr. Galea says that’s where population health comes in – finding ways to improve health on a large scale, and addressing epidemics from every angle.

Watch Guns, Obesity, and Opioids: A Population Health Science Approach to Contemporary Concerns

Advancing Global Health

UC San Diego played host to the 2018 UC Global Health Day earlier this year, attracting faculty, staff and students from all UC campuses who came to hear and share the latest research and best practices for global health. After a compassionate keynote from Vikram Patel of Harvard on the need for universal mental health coverage https://www.uctv.tv/wellbeing/search-details.aspx?showID=32915, an inspiring group of UC students presented the UC Global Health Institute’s Advocacy Initiative, https://www.uctv.tv/wellbeing/search-details.aspx?showID=33666 a systemwide effort to coordinate events and outreach to members of Congress and other elected officials who support their agenda. These students and their faculty mentors reflect the UCGHI’s commitment to harness the power of the University of California to improve health around the world.

Watch Universal Mental Health Coverage — UC Global Health Day 2018 .