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The Connection Between Environment and Health

July 2021

Keeping a doctor’s appointment is easy, if you have transportation. Eating healthy is no problem, if you have the access and money to buy healthy food. Following a doctor’s treatment plan is not complicated, if you understand the instructions and trust the doctor.

Literacy, income level, and access to transportation and healthy food are components of what are known as social determinants of health (SDOH). These factors — combined with housing, discrimination, access to health care, and social support — have a significant effect on health and longevity. Health care research shows that SDOH have more impact on health and well-being than the actual care received within the health care system.

Positive SDOH factors contribute to longer and healthier lives. Less advantaged individuals, and older adults with complex health needs, may have fewer SDOH factors in their favor, making them more prone to illness, poor health outcomes and lower life expectancy.

As we celebrate America’s Independence Day this month, many of us believe there is still work to do to obtain equality in our country, including reducing health inequities. University of California Health (UCH) is leading the charge to develop new practices and approaches to health care that offer all Americans the opportunity to thrive and live healthy lives.

Actions for Equity

UCH and its health plan partners are working to ensure all our employees, patients and their families have access to the highest-quality health care. Below are resources highlighting how UC Health and its partners are supporting all members in our communities:

UC Global Health Institute: A UC-wide initiative that stimulates, nurtures and promotes global health research, education and collaboration to advance health in California and worldwide.

Report: Disrupting the Status Quo: A special report of the UC Health Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force (September 2020).

Anthem Health Equity Programs and Healthy Generations: See how Anthem is investing in the health and well-being of all the diverse communities in which we live and work.

Let’s Talk About It

If you’re having trouble connecting with the medical or emotional support you need, we can help:

Anthem Health Guide. A high-touch service to help you find and compare medical and behavioral health providers, including information (if available) about languages spoken, ethnicity and specific expertise relevant to your personal history, cultural background, gender and sexual orientation. Call toll-free at (844) 437-0486, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT, except holidays. Log in to explore primary care physicians (PCPs) near you, including UC providers. View provider details to see ethnicity information (if available) and languages spoken in that office.

Anthem Behavioral Health Resource Center. Licensed counselors can help with issues ranging from depression and eating disorders to substance misuse. Call (844) 792-5141.

LiveHealth Online. Access to board-certified doctors, licensed therapists and psychiatrists through online video or phone.

myStrength. Interactive tool that helps you build resilience, improve overall well-being, and combat depression, anxiety, stress, substance use, chronic pain and more. Access myStrength through or through the Sydney Health app under Benefits.

Sydney Health can guide the way. The Sydney Health mobile app can help you find PPO providers and access digital tools, like LiveHealth Online. Download the free app for iPhone and Android.