Beyond Healthcare Policy: Building the Foundation of Health for Wisconsin Families

Social and economic conditions and the physical environment influence a person’s health more than their medical care or behaviors. State policymakers play a significant role in creating those conditions and, in turn, building the foundation of health for Wisconsin families. Compared to other states, Wisconsin earned a grade of “B-“ for overall health and a “D” for disparities between the healthiest and least healthy people. The state’s racial health disparities are among the highest in the country. Poor health not only negatively affects a family’s quality of life and financial security, it limits Wisconsin’s economic growth.

The seminar speakers unpacked how social and economic conditions can harm a person’s health and discussed why racial health disparities are so prevalent and persistent. They presented research-based policy options—such as income support programs, early childhood education programs, and housing options—that can improve social and economic conditions in the state. Policymakers and other participants gained a greater understanding of where to invest limited resources to improve the health of Wisconsin families and eliminate racial health disparities.

Presenters and acknowledgments 


Creating the Conditions in Wisconsin for All People to Live Long and Healthy Lives

by Patrick Remington, MD, MPH
Professor Emeritus of Population Health Sciences, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Powerpoint (pdf) Issue Brief (pdf) Video (YouTube) Transcript

Addressing Racial Disparities in Health: What Matters Most?

by Arjumand Siddiqi, ScD
Professor of Public Health & Canada Research Chair in Population Health Equity, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Powerpoint (pdf) Issue Brief (pdf) Video (YouTube) Transcript

The Economic Benefits of Social Policy for Health

by Peter Muennig, MD, MPH
Professor of Health Policy and Management, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Powerpoint (pdf) Issue Brief (pdf) Video (YouTube) Transcript

Additional Materials

Issue Brief: What Works for Health Wisconsin


Family Impact Guide for Policymakers

Continuing the Conversation takeaways – workforce development/employment, broadband and internet access, and physical environment

Continuing the Conversation takeaways – family income support, racial health disparities, and housing and community well-being