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Future Hindsight is a weekly podcast that aims to spark civic engagement through in-depth conversations with citizen changemakers. American democracy is a living, breathing mechanism whose well-being deserves to be cultivated and protected, and now more than ever, the need to be an engaged citizen is critical. We explore how each of us has the power to shape our society and fulfill our shared civic responsibility.

Oct 13, 2018

Phil Polakoff is a physician with a distinguished career in public health and clinical medicine, the CEO of A Healthier We, and a consulting professor at Stanford University of Medicine. We discuss how an emphasis on prevention coupled with innovations in healthcare access and delivery can help us share greater health and equity for all Americans.

Demand Better Healthcare Policies

We need a more efficient and effective health delivery system that encompasses all of us. Follow political candidates who are engaged in nuanced discussions about access, quality, and costs, instead of simple slogans. Social determinants such as housing, income, transportation, education, and the environment must be a part of any debate on healthcare. State or local level initiatives might lead on innovation.

Opportunities for Reform

Good health must start with personal responsibility and an emphasis on prevention. Access to healthcare should be optimized, both to avoid under utilization or over utilization and to address shortages of medical expertise, such as in mental health and elder care. Pilot programs that offer a holistic, team-oriented approach and use innovative technology are a good way to discover what works.

Healthcare is a right

We can engage along many points of the ecosystem that contribute to healthy living. Addressing all of the inequities in our healthcare system requires us to take part and hear each other’s ideas out, share past experiences, and find culturally appropriate solutions in each community. We can achieve greater health and equity for all Americans when we share health as a universal value.

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Phil Polakoff is a physician with a distinguished career in public health for over 35 years and an affiliated scholar at the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University.