Soaring to New Health – Season 2, Episode 2: SDOH in the Community

Welcome to Season Two of ProspHire’s Soaring to New Health podcast! In this episode, we delve into the critical impact of Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) on our communities, particularly focusing on housing and its implications for the well-being of children and families. Joining us today are two distinguished guests: Stephanie Meyer from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and Chris Watts, the CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania.

Chris Watts shares insights into the Boys and Girls Clubs’ mission, serving over 7,500 kids annually in Western Pennsylvania. Their programs focus on providing safe environments, academic support, character development, healthy lifestyles and career readiness to help children reach their full potential.

Stephanie Meyer highlights the role of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services in supporting over 3 million Pennsylvanians through various programs, including Medicaid, nutrition assistance and housing initiatives. The department’s focus on addressing housing instability and providing critical resources during the pandemic reflects their commitment to a thriving Pennsylvania for all.

Tackling Barriers: The conversation shifts to addressing housing barriers, with Stephanie discussing initiatives like the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and efforts to increase access to affordable housing. Chris Watts emphasizes the Boys and Girls Clubs’ commitment to reducing barriers for families, including transportation and paperwork processes, to ensure all children have access to quality programs.

The Impact of Social Determinants: Both Stephanie and Chris emphasize the tangible impact of Social Determinants of Health, such as homelessness and housing instability, on children and families. They paint a vivid picture of the challenges faced by those experiencing housing insecurity and underscore the need for collaborative efforts to address these disparities.

Investing in Quality and Access: Both community leaders highlight the importance of investing in quality childcare and early learning programs. Stephanie praises the Boys and Girls Clubs’ commitment to quality, as evidenced by their high accreditation rating, while Chris emphasizes the need to ensure access to high-quality programs for all children, regardless of their circumstances.

It’s evident that addressing Social Determinants of Health requires a multifaceted approach involving government agencies, community organizations and stakeholders. By working together and investing in quality programs and resources, we can create a healthier and more equitable future for our communities. To learn more about how you can get involved, listen to the entire episode here: Listen to the Soaring to New Health Series | ProspHire

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Julie Evans

Senior Manager