Within the text of Health Systems Science, population health is defined as “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group.”
Making that definition stick is the first step of the population health curriculum Dr. Wilson teaches to her students.
“There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what population health actually means and how it pertains to health care as well as the other areas we need to be thinking about in order to improve population health,” Dr. Wilson said. “Basic education is needed on key concepts and how things are changing in health care delivery for a population health focus.”
In addressing a more rounded approach to her students, Dr. Wilson is trying to pass along the knowledge that traditionally siloed areas such as health care delivery, public health and community organizations, will need to learn to work together for better health of patients and populations.
The significance of the lessons learned in the classroom, Dr. Wilson believes, will reveal their value over time.
“One of the challenges for medical students is they are starting their education, and so have not yet had significant patient care experiences and clinical training to fully understand the context and application of this new knowledge on population health,” she said.
“So we are planting the seeds for these important concepts we [physicians] need to know. My suspicion is that they will increasingly understand the importance of considering the social determinants of health, using data to provide knowledge about their patient populations, and collaborating with partners to support the health of their patients and populations as they progress in their education and clinical training.”
Health Systems Science, which is already in use in medical schools across the country, was co-written by experts from the AMA and faculty from 11 of the 32 member schools in the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium.
The book retails for $59.99 and can be ordered from the AMA Store and the publisher, Elsevier, as well as from Amazon and other online booksellers. AMA members may order it from the AMA Store for $54.99. Individual chapters are available from Elsevier’s Student Consult platform for $6.99 each.