You are here

An Update on Social Determinants of Health

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


The phrase Social Determinants of Health has been around for a number of years and encapsulates an understanding that improvements in health outcomes require attention to other factors, like housing, income and social environment. Healthy People 2020 defines Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) as "conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks."

Ryan White and SDOH

The HRSA Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program's (RWHAP) comprehensive approach to health care and support needs reflects a long history of attention to SDOH. There are numerous examples of RWHAP attention to SDOH. To illustrate, multiple Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) demonstration projects have, over the decades, focused on specific SDOH concerns, like the recent SPNS initiative, Improving HIV Health Outcomes through the Coordination of Supportive Employment and Housing Services, 2017-2020. In 2016, HRSA's HIV/AIDS Bureau, in recognition of the importance of stable housing for successful HIV care management, issued a Policy Clarification Notice revising and updating earlier policy on use of RWHAP funds for housing services. HRSA and other HHS agencies have also expanded decades-long attention to health disparities under the Secretary's Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF) with resources devoted to minority health disparities along with special technical assistance and training efforts.

A Few SDOH Resources

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released a report in May 2018, Beyond Health Care: The Role of Social Determinants in Promoting Health and Health Equity (KFF), an update from an earlier version, which includes an overview, data and a handy summary of federal and state initiatives addressing SDOH. From CDC is their landing page, Social Determinants of Health: Know What Affects Health, with multiple subpages on data, research, a collection of "Tools for Putting Social Determinants of Health into Action" and more.

Social Determinants of Health


Total views: 339