At the first National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health, held recently in Chicago, Ascension Vice President for State Policy and Advocacy Caroline Battles joined representatives from Lankenau Medical Center and OSF Healthcare to lead a breakout session, "Taking the Clinic to the Community (and Vice Versa)." Caroline discussed the importance of the Community Health Needs Assessment in ensuring effective community health outcomes.

The summit was held by the Root Cause Coalition, a non-profit organization created to address issues pertaining to social determinants of health, which are defined as conditions in the environment in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age, that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. The conference brought together representatives from healthcare, faith-based groups, researchers, clinicians and government institutions to share best practices and offer community connections and resources in striving to improve the nation's health.

Caroline serves on the advocacy committee of the coalition, in which Ascension is an inaugural partner. By engaging in research to determine best practices, advocating for relevant public policy and focusing on meeting the access and education needs faced by individuals and communities, the coalition hopes to more fully engage the healthcare community in discussing social determinants of health to ultimately develop and implement data-driven, community-centered solutions to prevent long-term chronic health conditions in populations.