Dr. Anna Faul
Professor, Executive Director of the Trager Institute
In order to ensure health equity for all people, we must value people equally and address avoidable inequalities by assuring the conditions for optimal health.
According to the World Health Organization, the toxic combination of bad policies, economics, and politics is in large measure responsible for the fact that a majority of people in the world do not enjoy the good health that is biologically possible. Within the context of our aging population, which is expected to increase from 40 million to 70 million by 2030, it is important to address these disparities and social injustices to ensure that we will be able to care for our aging population.
Not only do we need to increase the workforce to deliver services to an aging population, we also need to create health equity in our society by challenging the social determinants of health that are preventing older adults from enjoying good health. Also, societal barriers need to be broken down that prevent many older adults with chronic conditions from getting the care they need.
Dr. Faul’s research focuses on four critical needs in the field of aging and chronic disease management: 1) the high prevalence and disproportionate impact of chronic conditions on marginalized people in our society; 2) the lack of health self- management and prevention programs that address cultural influences and the influences of the complex systems on people’s health; 3) the need for sophisticated multilevel explanatory methodologies in social work and health research to analyze pathways to effective health behavior; and 4) the need for health professional researchers and practitioners to help fill the workforce gap for our aging society.