June 2022

CHAS eNews

Policy Brief

Social Workers: A Neglected Partner in Health Policy and Public Health

In The Milbank Quarterly, Harold Pollack (CHAS Co-Director and Helen Ross Professor at the UChicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice) and his coauthors write, “As a health policy and public health community, we have spent the last generation noting the importance of social determinants of health. Yet, in myriad ways, we have failed to recognize, embrace, and reward the profession and practice of social work, whose core mission is to address social determinants on matters ranging from youth homicide to homelessness, disability, long-term care, and now the COVID-19 epidemic.” Here, the authors illustrate the ways that social workers address social determinants and reduce health disparities by helping vulnerable or marginalized individuals, families, and communities secure basic needs and resources, and the ways that the social work profession is undervalued, under-resourced, and underpaid. This article calls on the public health community to step up to support social workers’ efforts and requests in order to truly address social determinants of public health. Read the complete article below.

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Service Innovation

Disparities in Expected Driving Time to Opioid Treatment and Treatment Completion: Findings From an Exploratory Study

A new publication by Abdullah Alibrahim (Guest Lecturer in the Autumn 2022 Davis Lecture Series), Jeanne C. Marsh (CHAS Director and George Herbert Jones Distinguished Service Professor at the UChicago Crown Family School), Hortensia Amaro, Yinfei Kong, Tenie Khachikian, and Erick Guerrero highlights that community time to treatment has been shown to affect healthcare outcomes such as engagement and initiation. In this study, the researchers draw on this finding to investigate the effects of driving time to opioid programs on treatment outcomes. The researchers analyzed discharge survey data from 22,587 outpatient opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment episodes in Los Angeles County and estimated the associated driving time to each episode using Google Maps. They found an average driving time of 11.32 minutes and an average distance of 11.18 kilometers. They also observed differences in estimated driving time across age, gender, and socioeconomic status. Young, male, more formally educated, and Medi-Cal-ineligible clients drove longer to treatment. Furthermore, a 10-minute drive was associated with a 33% reduction in the completion of methadone treatment plans. These findings may inform policies regarding ideal geographic placement of methadone-based treatment programs and service expansion initiatives. Read the complete article below. 

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Upcoming Lectures

The Spring 2022 Michael M. Davis eLecture Series has ended. Stay tuned for more details about the Autumn 2022 Lecture Series!

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