Brown School Associate Professor Jason Purnell has recently joined the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable on Population Health Improvement.
Established in 2013, the Roundtable is comprised of science-informed leaders working to catalyze action to improve health outcomes for the entire U.S. population, addressing multiple determinants of health. Those can include access to medical care, financial status, genetics, behaviors, social or environmental factors.
Purnell’s work as director of Health Equity Works (HEW) dovetails with the work of the national group. Since its inception, HEW has been dedicated to using accessible research on health disparities in St. Louis communities to accelerate action and systems change. The organization has developed local and national partnerships to work on issues like quality housing, school health, and child development accounts (CDAs) for all children born in Missouri.
Those actions have born tangible results. One is the Healthy Schools Toolkit, a free evidence-based tool designed to help educators build healthy school communities. Another is the recently released report titled Segregation in St. Louis: Dismantling the Divide. Written in partnership with well-respected St. Louis partner organizations, the report presents 11 concrete policy recommendations to support fair, affordable and inclusive housing in St. Louis.
In his role as faculty director at the Center for Social Development at the Brown School, he has worked with the Missouri Child Development Account Coalition to encourage legislation that could establish CDAs in the state.
For Purnell, it’s about using data to accelerate action and positive change. “Health and well-being are rooted in equity and opportunity. It benefits entire communities by giving everyone the opportunity to thrive and flourish,” he said. “I’m excited to learn more about national efforts in this area.”