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Take the Lead: What is Economic Stability? And How Does it Connect to Children’s Health?

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Take the Lead is a blog series from Teri Nestel, president and CEO of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In this leadership-focused series, Teri will share her insights and leadership lessons alike.

Providing children with the best health care extends beyond simply treating physical symptoms. A child’s health is also impacted by social determinants that affect a family’s ability to support basic needs, such as nutrition, housing, and providing a sense of security. Because of this, member children’s hospitals offer many programs funded in part by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals donations, addressing social determinants of health.

Before we dive into how children’s hospitals are fostering economic stability – let’s get familiar with the idea itself.

Economic stability is one of the CDC’s five major social determinants of health. It refers to the ability to access resources essential to one’s life and well-being. Unfortunately, economic stability is out of reach for many families in the U.S. today, and children in these families are particularly vulnerable because resources are often diverted away from the health and development of children to meet basic family needs. To summarize, when families try to meet basic needs, children’s health is often deprioritized.

This is especially true for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, single-parent households and those in underserved communities who face educational and income barriers. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these challenges, as median incomes fell, and unemployment increased among those already more prone to economic instability.

Changing kids’ health to change the future means providing access to best-in-class health services and treatments and supporting other critical needs affecting children’s health.

In 2021, 14 percent of the more than $411 million raised by Children Miracle Network Hospitals helped to provide charitable care for patients in need of financial assistance. Another 24 percent helped to deliver patient services supporting the overall well-being of patients and families.

When you support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, you are improving both the health and the well-being of children and families – creating a healthier, happier future for families and communities for years to come.