What are Social Determinants of Health aka (SDOH)
Social determinants of health are factors or conditions that exist where we are born, raised, live, work, play, learn, and worship that can affect our health and quality of life.
For example, the 2010 Haitian earthquake created conditions that put survivors at risk for health and quality of life issues. Hence, Hatiti experienced a significant Cholera outbreak that began in October 2010. The outbreak resulted in 820,000 suspected cases with 9,000 deaths from contaminated water related to basic human activity.
Accordingly, we regularly monitor several SDOH factors which have the potential for significant impact on health outcomes. The list is not all-inclusive but includes areas where change has the potential for a positive impact.
What are the Social Determinants of Health in your neighborhood?
SDOH - Healthcare Access and Quality
What are healthcare access and quality? Healthcare access and quality are the connection between your access to and understanding of health services and your own health. It includes such factors as health insurance coverage, access to primary care, and health literacy.
For instance, a lack of health insurance coverage can have negative health consequences for you and your children. It is well documented that uninsured adults are less likely to receive preventive services and wait to seek care at more advanced stages of the disease. Likewise, children without health insurance are less likely to receive appropriate treatment for conditions such as asthma or critical preventive care such as immunizations, and well-child visits.
Additionally, when the ratio of provider to population is high, the more difficult it becomes to get an appointment. Consequently, the more likely you may be to forego seeking treatment or preventive care altogether. Ultimately this can result in a decrease in the length and quality of your life.
SDOH - Economic Stability
What is economic stability? Economic stability is the connection between your financial resources – income, cost of living, and socioeconomic status – and your health. It includes such factors as unemployment, poverty, food insecurity, and housing instability.
For example, the gender pay gap measures the difference in wages earned by females compared with males. Even though women make up the majority of college-educated adults in the U.S., pay inequity remains an issue. Women who earn less for the same work as men are more likely to suffer from mood disorders. Also, large gaps are associated with poorer self-rated health, worse mortality outcomes, and increased disability. With a more equitable distribution of wages, overall health and quality of life have the potential for significant improvement.
Additionally, areas with high unemployment rates statistically have higher rates of stress-related illnesses such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, heart disease, and arthritis, as well as anxiety and depression. Lower unemployment rates have a direct correlation with improved health outcomes including morbidity and mortality.
SDOH - Education
What is education? It is “the connection of education to health and wellbeing” (CDC). It includes such factors as high school graduation rates, enrollment in higher education, educational attainment in general, language and literacy, as well as early childhood education and development.
Given that, the relationship between higher education and improved health outcomes is well established. The more years of formal education you have directly correlate with more opportunities, reduced psychosocial stress, and healthier lifestyles.