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In Focus: Creating Pathways and Partnerships to Address Patients’ Social Needs


When Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center began surveying families visiting its primary care clinics about their financial, environmental, and psychosocial challenges in 2009, the results were troubling. Among other findings, nearly a third reported they were living in homes with cockroaches and mold—conditions known to exacerbate asthma and other respiratory conditions.1

A team led by pediatricians Robert Kahn, M.D., and Andrew Beck, M.D., began looking for correlations between patients’ housing conditions and health outcomes by combining the survey data with information gathered by the city’s housing authority. They found that kids who lived in neighborhoods within the highest quartile of housing code violations were nearly twice as likely as other children to have a return trip to the emergency department or hospital within 12 months.2

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