America’s Public Health Crisis: Declining Life Expectancy & its Systemic Causes
On February 25, 2019, the Institute for Public Health Innovation hosted a webinar examining declining life expectancy trends in the U.S.
In 2018 the CDC released data revealing that U.S. life expectancy declined for the 3rd consecutive year. This is an unprecedented trend in modern society that cuts across demographics and multiple causes. This webinar provided a nuanced and in-depth look at the data on declining life expectancy across racial-ethnic groups from a wide range of conditions and provided recommendations for policymakers in addressing some of the systemic causes.
Dr. Steven H. Woolf provided insight from his recently published study that revealed midlife mortality rates in the U.S. have increased across all racial-ethnic populations from multiple causes including organ diseases and “deaths of despair.” His discussion included an analysis of this historical progression that indicates midlife mortality rates among non-white populations equaled or even exceeded rates of white populations, offsetting years of progress in lowering mortality rates. He also provided policy levers to reverse this trend.
Dr. Brian D. Smedley spoke to the systemic factors contributing to these racial and ethnic inequities in mortality. His discussion focused on a prominent root cause, racial residential segregation, and housing disparities. Dr. Smedley discussed the history of residential segregation, demonstrated its link to racial health inequities, and recommended potential place and people-based policy interventions.
Access the audio recording of the webinar here:
Click below to access the slides used in the webinar