“The most important step to reaching the goal of becoming the healthiest nation in the world is to really deal with our internal issues of equity. I think as long as we have such variations in health outcomes, such disparities in health in this country, we can never be the healthiest country in the world.”

Wise words from one of the nation’s leading authorities on health equity — former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the nation’s 16th surgeon general, David Satcher. Satcher, who spoke to APHA TV during the APHA 2016 Annual Meeting and Expo in October, said creating the healthiest nation will require an earnest effort to address social determinants such as education, income and access to quality health care. The U.S., he said, is an outlier when it comes to ensuring quality care for all and that must change.

Of course, ensuring quality care for all will take a combination of strategies. But one component is engaging medical schools in the mission to advance health equity as well as educating medical students about the importance of equity to their patients’ health and well-being, said Satcher, who is founding director and senior advisor to the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.

Satcher also spoke to APHA TV about the U.S. epidemic of violence, noting that “violence is a health issue.” In fact, he said safety is right up there with income and education as a critical social determinant of health.

View Satcher’s full APHA TV interview, as well as many more APHA TV episodes from the 2016 Annual Meeting, here.