Our health is shaped by where we are born, grow, work, live and age. It is also influenced by factors like education, employment, income, housing, justice, being part of society and being treated unfairly (discrimination). We call these factors the social determinants of health. While access to healthcare is important, these social determinants of health are responsible for up to 55% of health outcomes.

Our health is also shaped by environmental determinants (or our surroundings), like the weather, climate change, where we live, the quality of our housing, whether we have access to green spaces, as well as how our cities are designed, how easy it is to walk or get around, and what kind of food is available.

Cultural determinants are also important to understanding and improving the health and wellbeing. This is particularly important for Aboriginal people and those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities in western Sydney. We recognise the strength and resilience of our diverse communities and role that culture plays in health and wellbeing.

Social determinants tree

At the Centre for Population Health, we aim to support the health of everyone living within WSLHD throughout their lives. We do this by:

   
  • working with our partners to help and empower people to stay healthy; prevent health problems, and respond when there are health issues
  • ensuring the places where people live, learn and work are healthy, to improve health outcomes and reduce unnecessary hospital visits.

We look at the health of a whole group of people, not just one person. This way, we can ensure everyone in our community gets a fair chance at being healthy. Health and wellbeing can be very different for different people in society. Our job is to make these differences smaller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are lots of factors that play an important role in determining the health of society, many of which lie outside of both the health system and the control of individuals. (Image credit: National Preventative Health Strategy 2021-2030, Australian Government Department of Health).

Our work focuses on three main things to keep people well:

Prevention: We aim to stop diseases that can spread (like the measles) and diseases that happen because of our lifestyle (like not eating well or moving enough)
Protection: We work to keep our community safe from diseases that can spread as well as things in the environment that can make us sick.
Promotion: Promoting projects and programs to improve health, safety, wellbeing and the resilience of the community.

Our Programs & Services show how we do this.

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