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Healthcare silos’ failure to communicate

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The National Aquarium, in Baltimore.

Katherine E. Warren and Leana S. Wen write about the urgent need to break down silos in healthcare, especially in troubled cities such as New Orleans and Baltimore.

They write:

“In a city facing high burdens of disease, increasing rates of violence, and histories of institutional distrust, health silos serve to augment the impact of already destructive health disparities. In an environment of severely limited funding, poor allocation of personnel, funding, and social capital further weakens the potential impact of public health interventions. In Baltimore, the historical depth and complexity of public health issues like substance use disorders require multi-disciplinary and multi-agency approaches.”

An example of the problem:

“Recently, we had a meeting at the Baltimore City Health Department where we brought together members of the community and prominent members of a local academic medical center to discuss and strategize how to bring trauma-informed care to Baltimore. As the meeting began, we noticed that a senior member of our team was absent. After a brief search, we found her in a conference room that was just steps away. She was convening other members of the community and other leaders of that same academic medical center to discuss and strategize bringing trauma-informed care to Baltimore. Neither group had any idea the other was hosting a meeting on the very same topic.”


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