Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Uneven Excellence

We often compare ourselves to the other 36 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).  The US spends the most per capita on healthcare, but achieves much poorer outcomes than most OECD countries.  The US is among the largest spenders on education in terms of costs per student.  Yet, the US achieves […]

The Crossroads of Social Determinants

According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, “Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.”  Thus, there is a spectrum of attributes that characterize SDOH, […]

Layers of Complexity

Joseph Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies (Cambridge University Press, 1988) presaged Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Viking, 2004).  Both books provide vivid explanations of how societies fail and why. Societies create mechanisms to deal with new challenges.  Walls are built to thwart Mongol hoards.  Regulations are created to deter […]

Human Well Being

We know quite a bit about human well being, broadly defined to include the physical, behavioral, social, economic, and political elements of the concept.  We seem to lack the will and the resources to pursue broadly based improvements in the well being of everyone.  Many of us feel that everyone is on their own, and […]

Winning Ways

What do these three practices have in common? Selling exorbitantly-priced drugs that provide no relative health benefits, but one cannot buy particular patented drugs and devices from other suppliers Producing very expensive weapon systems that may no longer be needed, but one cannot buy these weapon systems and spare parts from other suppliers One cannot […]

A Significant Milestone

Today, I am 75 years old.  My first engineering job was 55 years ago.  I earned my PhD from MIT five decades ago.  I was a tenured full professor at the University of Illinois over four decades ago. I was elected to the National Academy over three decades ago.    I have been on the faculties […]

Complex Societies

Our society is amazingly complex.  It serves an enormous number of purposes.  An overarching goal is to persist.  Without persistence, society could not serve all its other purposes.  However, these purposes often compete and conflict for attention and resources.  I have spent much time trying to improve defense systems from my commissioning as an Air […]

Health, Education & Productivity

A recent email brought notice of four impressive National Academy reports.  Two were 2021 reports on High Quality Primary Care and The Future of Nursing.  One was a 2017 report on Pathways to Health Equity and the other was a 2012 report on Primary Care and Public Health.  These are all impressive pieces of work. […]

Addressing Complications

The world seems to be coming increasingly complicated.  Everything seems connected to everything.  It seems reasonable to argue that this has long been the case.  Diseases migrated from the old world to the new world, as did social and cultural norms.  However, this process took years or decades. Now, accelerated by technology, it takes days […]

Rethinking Health, Education & Productivity

As I have discussed many times before, a compelling overall goal is a healthy, educated, and productive population that is competitive in the global marketplace. Anyone who is not healthy is a drag on the national economy Anyone who is not educated is a drag on the national economy Anyone who is not productive is […]

Investment Priorities

We have, of late, been focused on federal policies to assure and enhance the STEM talent pipeline in the US.  There is a widespread sense that the pipeline is not as robust as the economy and competitiveness requires.  Are we trying to “fix” STEM?  Maybe, but we need to keep priorities in perspective.  As I […]

Is Everything Connected to Everything

For many years, my research related to design, operations, and maintenance of national security and space systems.  Over the past two decades, I have added healthcare delivery, higher education, urban systems, as well as energy and transportation.  These complex ecosystems interact in myriad ways.  In particular, they interact in terms of claims on societal resources. […]

The Inequality of Hidden Taxes

The 2020-21 “multi-demic” of the coronavirus, economic disruption, and racial unrest has prompted a wealth of promising ideas for how to improve everyone’s lives in terms of health and wellness, economic security, and racial equity.  As appealing as these ideas may be, they will face enormous implementation challenges and hurdles. We have been here before […]