The Social Ecological Model

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Health is viewed by different people in either medical terms – as mainly the absence of disease and functional fitness – or social terms – as a ‘resource for living’ embodying positive health and wellbeing. Both viewpoints can be useful in different ways – and together – for reducing health inequalities. Yet, one is definitely preventative in nature, while the other is reparative in nature. On one hand, the medical model responds to poor health, as sick people and those with disabilities are treated, usually in an institution based way. While people get sick for different reasons – including biology and genetics – in terms of health equity, the medical model can be perceived as a service that seeks to repair the poor health outcomes caused…show more content…
Policy-makers can cooperate with a range of organizations, health practitioners, and government departments at all levels in order to develop health policy that seeks to reduce health inequalities effectively before they can manifest themselves in poor health outcomes. The medical model – while it will always be around, and while it arguably should always be around – is somewhat of a quick-fix, short-term approach to a very serious and pervasive public health issue. The social-ecological model, though, is a much more forward thinking, long-term, and sustainable approach to dealing with this public health issue. It looks to the root causes of the issue – all of the social and economic determinants of health discussed in part 1 – and attempts to solve the problem at that level. This approach is far more useful for reducing health inequalities. Although, this is not to say that the social-ecological model should exist alone. Rather, both models appear to work in conjunction with one another, even if the medical model has been the subject of a great deal of criticism. More accurately, the social-ecological model has incorporated the medical model for the sake of optimisation. Policy-makers rely on the medical model in developing effective socio-ecological health policy. In that sense, then, their policies are shaped by the competing values, philosophies, and interests of the two models and their…show more content…
While, on paper, the arguments made in this respect seem reasonable and logical to some extent, I cannot help but feel that it is akin to telling less privileged people that they just need to deal with the fact that they are less fortunate and get on with it. In a sense, though, that has nothing to do with health inequality, but rather the social and economic determinants themselves. What I can say for certain is that the social-ecological model of health speaks to me. Yet, I can completely see the benefits of the inclusion of the medical model in the social-ecological model. A preventative approach would never be successful on its own because any assumption that it would be fails to take into account that health inequalities are also caused by biological and genetic

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