Affecting Positive Change

Image from the CDC

When I think about affecting positive change, I think about things like no one in America should have to be hungry or homeless. That health is more than access, it’s about achieving wellbeing. And that all kids see their unique gifts, expand what they think is possible for themselves, and find a path to get them there, whether that’s college, the trades, the military or something else.

Over the last decade I’ve thought a lot about the Social Determinants of Health. While first exposed to this framework when I worked in healthcare, I quickly realized they were many of the same barriers that prevented first-generation college attenders from graduating when I worked in higher ed.

Recently as a consultant, I’ve attracted clients addressing social determinants –healthcare, food,  education, job training, and wealth building. After working on a complex project for my former employer, Tepeyac Community Health Center, whose expanded 25,000 SF integrated care clinic anchors 150 affordable housing units, I was hooked. 

As a result, I am focusing my consulting practice, the Ripple Affect, exclusively on clients and boards in the most stabilizing social determinant fields. Fields like food and housing, healthcare and wellbeing, early childhood education, job training and education, financial literacy, and wealth building. 

I am saying this out loud to the world and you, today.

I’ve even taken a first step by organizing the client section of my website by these fields. Check it out  You may have to scroll down to the bottom of that page today, but over the next few months I’ll be creating a separate page for each of the my 3 services and adding client cases that highlight those fields. 

I’ve started to filter the Social Determinants of Health through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I’m wondering if this exercise might give us a roadmap to remove barriers for people working 2 jobs and trying to pull themselves out of poverty. And I’m curious if poverty isn’t the greatest social determinant of all?

I’ll be focusing my upcoming articles and blogs on these areas, on what I’m thinking and how that’s informed by the work I’m doing. I hope these musings facilitate a conversation. I invite your feedback because I know that each one of you in my network is also doing amazing work in these fields or related ones.

We can better learn with and from one another if we share our experiences and other models. Much like gardening, this will create new fruiting plants and unexpected hybrids that go beyond what we thought, individually, was possible. It’s the only thing that ever does, or so Margaret Mead told us.

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