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Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) are environmental conditions in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, and age that affect their health and quality of life. Environment is not limited to "place" but includes social experiences like a person's sense of security, social inclusion, and social engagement. Some SDOH include the availability of affordable and safe housing, access to health care, access to quality jobs with a living wage, transportation options, literacy, segregation, public safety, and access to technology, like internet.


The five domains of SDOH are:


  1. Neighborhood and the Built Environment

  2. Economic Stability

  3. Education

  4. Health and Health Care

  5. Social and Community Context


Assessment Tools


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention published a number of resources for practitioners who are interested in health equity and social determinants of health. A list of downloadable tools can be found here.

Recommended Reading:

"A Practitioner's Guide for Advancing Health Equity: Community Strategies for Preventing Chronic Disease", here.

"Best Practices User Guides: Health Equity in Tobacco Prevention and Control", here.

"The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Healthy Homes", here.



Agencies and Community Resources

National Aging and Disability Transportation Center provides a valuable collection of resources in "Dementia, Caregiving and Transportation Toolkit" with information for people caring for persons with dementia. Download PowerPoints, videos, and other materials, here.

If you suspect elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation, visit the State of Michigan, Department of Health and Human Services website, here, for more information.

Educational Materials

A recent study on the experiences and needs of caregivers for persons with dementia prepared by Michigan Health Council for the Area Agency on Aging Northwest Michigan, April 2018. Read "Focus on Caregivers: Analysis and Recommendations", here.

University of Michigan Health Lab published an article, October 2017, "Why Screening for Social Determinants of Health Helps Doctors Provide Better Care". Read it here.

Patient Engagement HIT published an article, June 2017, "Using Social Determinants of Health in Patient-Centered Care". Read it here.

"Addressing the Social Determinants of Health: The Role of Health Professions Education", a 2016 report to the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Congress of the United States, prepared by the Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry reports on the need for students to develop "cultural competency" to provide services that respect the diversity of the communities in which they practice and training should be team-based and interprofessional, emphasize the patient's social history, take place in community health centers, hospitals, and clinics, and include opportunities for service learning. Read the report here.

Educational Videos

Department of Attorney General "Elder Abuse"

Social Determinants of Health: Claire Pomeroy at TEDxUCDavis

What is meant by "Social Determinants of Health"?

Healthy People 2020 – Determinants of Health (ODPHP) - IQ Solutions

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