I’m a reductionist at heart so let’s start with a number – 20. This is the percentage that health care contributes to our health, according to Nancy Adler of the University of California, San Francisco. She was writing for ‘Investing in what works for American communities’, a project that calls on leaders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors to build on what we know is working to move the needle on poverty.
It’s worth taking a moment to reflect on that number. It’s small. And yet when you read about health, whether it’s in the mainstream media, academic journals or the effervescent health innovation scene, what you’re really reading about is health care. It’s very rare to read about health creation.
I’m saying this a lot these days and am always countered with the idea of prevention. There are two reasons why I am reserved about prevention.