In the first two weeks of this course, you have been asked to consider the difference between the health of an individual and that of a population. You have been introduced to concepts of health inequities and social justice, and how inequalities in health are influenced by the circumstances in which people grow, live, work, and age. Societies need to decide if they want to invest in the conditions that can improve health today, or would rather pay to repair unhealthy bodies tomorrow. Both of those options have advocates and opponents.

Learning Resources in Weeks 1 and 2 illustrate how political, social, environmental, and economic forces influence the health of entire countries. In the remaining weeks of the course, you begin to build a compelling argument for action to improve the health of your community and your country. How can you, as a scholar-practitioner, encourage social change and improve population health at home and abroad?

This week, you begin your Scholar-Practitioner Project by writing a narrative highlighting your initial thoughts about population health and determinants as described in your Learning Resources. Population health, inequality, inequities, disparities, and determinants may be new concepts and new terms and, perhaps, even a new way of looking at public health. Consider how the information presented thus far supports your pre-existing beliefs or causes you to stop and question beliefs about population health that you had before you started this class.

To prepare for this Scholar-Practitioner Project Assignment, think about the concepts presented in your Learning Resources during the first two weeks of this course. Pay particular attention to the videos presented.

To complete this Scholar-Practitioner Project Assignment, write a 2- to 3-page narrative highlighting your initial thoughts about population health and determinants as described in your Learning Resources. Include a detailed description of what you believe to be two barriers that currently exist to improving population health. Address how concepts introduced in the first two weeks support or challenge your initial perceptions of population health. Assess how you, as a public health professional, might better advance the knowledge and practice of public health based on these concepts. Explain how you can you incorporate this information into your professional role.

Your written assignments must follow APA guidelines. Be sure to support your work with specific citations from this week’s Learning Resources and additional scholarly sources as appropriate. Refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association to ensure your in-text citations and reference list are correct.

Exposing the Gaps—How Does the United States Compare in Key Determinants of Health?
When the health of a population is measured by various mortality indicators such as life expectancy, infant or child mortality, or the chances of surviving to retirement, surprising trends emerge. Health, as measured by longevity, appears to be declining in substantial segments of the U.S. population, especially for women. These findings receive little attention in most public health efforts or in the mainstream media, at least in the United States.Convenient or not, a startling truth becomes clear—despite having access to what is arguably the best medical care in the world, Americans lag behind much of the developed world in many important health indices. In other words, better health care does not necessarily guarantee better health. 
To prepare for this Discussion, complete the readings and view the media in your Learning Resources. Install the free Gapminder Desktop tool and experiment plotting different health outcomes against various determinants already loaded along the two axes. Using the various health ranking resources provided, select two key health indicators for which the United States ranks lower than other nations. 
By Day 4, post a brief description of the two indicators you selected, citing specific sources. Explain how the U.S. ranks on these indicators compared to three developing countries. Next, explain two factors that might influence those rankings and the relative standing of the U.S. compared to the other nations. Then, determine which two states rank the best and which two states rank the worst for those indicators. Describe factors you believe might contribute to those relative rankings among the states. Finally, share any insights you gained or conclusions you drew as a result of making these comparisons.
Use APA formatting for your discussion and to cite your resources.

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