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Reflection by Edgar Cahn

“Once the rockets are up,
who cares where they come down?
That’s not my department,”
says Wernher von Braun.

These words come from a 1950’s song by Tom Lehrer about the Nazi scientist who designed the rockets that rained death upon London. 

That commentary brings to mind the response of all too many health care professionals when informed of the social determinants of health. These determinants account for 70% of the health of those patients whom they treat. That is how those professionals earn their living — but they are frequently prone to declare: “That’s not my department.” 

Yet, it could be and should be. 

When medical and health care professionals do undertake to make the social determinants of health their department, awesome documented changes occur.