Housing is health: 'Ask the Experts' addresses social determinants of health

The latest episode of the “Ask the Experts” series features Ann Kunkel and Dianna Benaknin of WellSpan Health. In a discussion highlighting WellSpan's interest in addressing social determinants of health, Kunkel and Benaknin focus on the impact of housing on health and describe a number of programs created to address avoidable housing-related hospital admissions.

Watch the interview. 

In the “Ask the Experts” video series, produced by the Center for Health Care and Policy Research (CHCPR) at Penn State, leaders in the industry share their perspectives on key topics affecting health care delivery and policy. The series is designed to reveal where and how important policy and practice topics intersect, and highlight ways in which research can advance that integration.

View past episodes of “Ask the Experts.”

Ann Kunkel, who joined Wellspan Health in 1989 is the current senior director of case management. In 2013, she began developing the care coordination team concept which strives to integrate primary care and acute care case management functions to support patients and their families in achieving health goals. In 2018 Kunkel won the DecisionHealth Platinum Award for Outstanding Achievement in Care Transitions.    

Dianna Benaknin has more than 30 years of experience implementing and managing aging-service programs. Currently she supports the case management department for the Omega Project, building connections in the community to implement various components of reducing avoidable days associated with challenges to discharge for specific patient groups. 

Dennis Scanlon, distinguished professor of health policy and administration and director of CHCPR in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State, interviews the guests on “Ask the Experts” series. Scanlon’s research focuses on understanding the role of measurement, incentives, quality improvement and individual and organizational behavior change for improving important health care outcomes, including clinical quality, patient experience and economic efficiency. 

The mission of CHCPR is to create and disseminate new scientific knowledge that will help private and public decision-makers to develop cost effective services and programs that improve people's health. CHCPR helps researchers interested in all aspects of health services and health care improvement find funding, develop quality research designs, collect and analyze data, and disseminate findings to the right audiences.