Defining Population Health

What does it mean when someone says they want to improve population health? The first step is to agree on what population health is. The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute offers a practical definition that’s gained traction in the public health community in recent years. They define population health as a combination of health factors and health outcomes: “The health of a community is determined by a number of health factors including the quality of health care, health behaviors, socioeconomic factors, and the physical environment.” The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s definition is the backbone of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) model. This model is frequently cited nationally and is the basis of County Health Rankings. The infographic below arrays the topic areas from County Health Rankings. Activities to improve a population’s health can start anywhere within the realm of health factors and health outcomes. (7/17/2015)

Population Health Picture