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The Milbank Memorial Fund supports two state leadership programs for legislative and executive branch state government officials committed to improving population health.
The Fund identifies and shares policy ideas and analysis to advance state health leadership, strong primary care, and sustainable health care costs.
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The Fund publishes The Milbank Quarterly, as well as reports, issues briefs, and case studies on topics important to health policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund is is a foundation that works to improve population health and health equity.
The Future of Population Health
Paula M. Lantz
Daniel S. Goldberg
Sarah E. Gollust
Feb 27, 2024
Jan 22, 2024
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The World Health Organization defines health as the “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”1 Anchored in this broad view of health, population health is a long-standing multidisciplinary science that examines the patterns and distributions of health outcomes and their causes in populations, primarily defined by geopolitical spaces and social characteristics such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic position.2 Significant attention in the field of population health is devoted to understanding the upstream (structural and macrolevel), midstream (meso- or community-level), and downstream (micro- or individual level) social determinants of health, and the limits of medical care in both producing health and reducing socially driven health inequities within populations.2,3 An important focus of population health science is understanding the ways in which upstream structural factors—such as macroeconomic forces, cultural factors, social systems and institutions, and public policy and law—are the fundamental drivers of socioeconomic stratification in society, which in turn shape the more proximate psychosocial and material conditions for health, including food, shelter, safety, clean environments, and medical care.
Public health, a sister discipline, is also concerned with the causes of health, illness, and injury in populations, the unequal distributions of outcomes within them, and opportunities for prevention and other interventions at upstream, midstream, and downstream levels.4 As a field of practice and policy, public health is primarily grounded in the role of the government and partnering organizations in preventing disease and injury, prolonging life and health equity, and protecting, assuring, and improving the health of populations in geopolitical units at the local, state, regional, and national levels.5
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The Milbank Quarterly is an editorially independent multidisciplinary journal that offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, political, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.