• Sandra Ericson

Concept: Prevention

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

The concept of prevention as universally applied in medicine is equally applicable to Human Ecology. Preventive actions are called for when:

  • A verified statistical risk in the population is known,

  • It takes time to find who is at risk, which means preventive actions must be early and apply to many people,

  • The consequences are such that the goal is to have zero-risk.

As our society has become more individualized and customized, taking action to insure against the future costs of poverty has become almost an afterthought. Short term personal hardship is more identifiable, while the long term results for the whole society are:

  • less known,

  • less profit motivated, 

  • cannot be measured until poverty begins to overwhelm social systems, as it has now.

Preventive thinking and acting for overall national human welfare is an intrinsic need in all developed societies serving millions of people. Some may believe it is too speculative or that poverty prevention is about the prevention of one-time events. No, it is national self-insurance against inequality and subsequent economic volatility, natural disasters, pandemics,effects of war, aging, family changes, medical events and other normal, yet often devastating, aspects of human life.


Watchdog, How Protecting Consumers Can Save Our Families, Our Economy, and Our Democracy by Richard Cordray.

Cordray who served for six years as the first Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. An excellent new book on prevention of factors that lead to homelessness. Foreword by Elizabeth Warren, published 2020.

Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen   by Dan Heath New York Times description, "bestselling author Dan Heath explores how to prevent problems before they happen. We put out fires. We deal with emergencies. We stay downstream, handling one problem after another, but we never make our way upstream to fix the systems that caused the problems. So why do our efforts skew so heavily toward reaction rather than prevention? Watchdog probes the psychological forces that push us downstream including problem blindness; which can leave us oblivious to serious problems in our midst. Heath introduces us to the thinkers who have overcome these obstacles and scored massive victories by switching to an upstream mindset. Upstream thinking and planning delivers practical solutions for preventing problems rather than reacting to them. How many problems in our lives and in society are we tolerating simply because we’ve forgotten that we can fix them?" Published 2020.