The opening of the new Population Health Center at George Mason University is a welcome addition in the realm of addressing population health. With so many uninsured and underinsured Virginians across the commonwealth, and especially near affluent areas that would not otherwise be considered health professional shortage areas, this facility will have the opportunity to close the health disparity gap.
Future gains can be envisioned through the Center’s inter-professional focus. Developing and capitalizing on training opportunities that will cross-pollinate health specialties will optimize care delivery and patient health. Such approaches are invaluable, considering Virginia’s aging population.
As with all public health initiatives, a primary concern is utilization by the target population. Will marketing efforts reach the most vulnerable people? Are community resources and collaborations ideally positioned to leverage technological offerings such as telehealth? And will residents on islands of disadvantage be able to successfully access transportation and care afforded by the Center on an ongoing basis without risking employment to achieve health equity?
Addressing population health is a challenge at any level. The GMU Population Health Center, with community support, will help to improve the health of Virginians.