Discussion with Dr. Steven Woolf on the IOM's Recent Report, "US Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health" (February 15, 2013)
In January 2013 the Institute of Medicine released "Shorter Lives, Poorer Health" a 404-page report that found Americans die sooner, experience higher rates of disease and injury than people in 16 other like high-income countries and that these health disadvantages exist at all ages from birth to age 75.
During this 22 minute podcast Dr. Steven Woolf, the chair of the IOM panel that authored the report, discusses the pervasiveness of problem or the diversity of health problems that exist across our entire lifespan, how social factors contribute to poorer health and the fact that higher educated and higher income Americans are also too in poorer health compared to their peer group overseas. Dr. Woolf discusses worse birth outcomes in this country, the importance of antecedents for good health and possibly why the only subpopulation of Americans, those over 80, do comparatively well. Finally, Dr. Woolf outlines the report's three policy recommendations and identifies a few foreign health care policies, that if adopted, might prove effective in the US.
Dr. Woolf is Professor at the Departments of Family Medicine, Epidemiology and Community Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2001 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine. He has published more than 100 articles that have focused on evidence-based medicine with a special focus on preventive medicine, cancer screening, quality improvement and social justice. He is the associate editor of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and served as North American editor of the British Medical Journal. He received his MD from Emory and his MPH from Johns Hopkins.