Clinicians, Public Health Experts Should Focus on Helping People Flourish

Clinicians and public health practitioners should start considering the concept of flourishing when examining patients and assessing population-level health trends, according to a new Viewpoint article in JAMA co-authored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Tyler VanderWeele. The article, published on April 1, 2019, contends that doctors tend to focus on the absence of disease as a defining trait of health, while public health experts tend to home in on quantifiable measures of societal health, such as leading causes of mortality. But these measures don’t fully account for factors such as happiness and life satisfaction, character and virtue, and social relationships, all of which can affect health.

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