Health Disparities & Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)

As patients enter the healthcare system, primary care is typically their first stop. Because of this, primary care clinicians have a unique opportunity to develop relationships with patients and communities. This also enables them to get a glimpse of the hardships that a particular patient or group of patients is dealing with and see how that can affect their overall well-being. As the healthcare system, and primary care in particular, shifts away from a transactional system, to one more focused on high quality, comprehensive care, these outside factors that often play a significant role in patients’ lives must be accounted for. 


The CDC defines health disparities as preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations. It defines the social determinants of health as conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play. While several of these factors or locations fall out of the traditional sphere of primary care, a well-organized and coordinated primary care team should have the resources to help patients beyond their medical needs. 


US Department of Health and Human Services | July 2011
Center for American Progress | October 2010
North Dakota Department of Health | September 2009
National Business Group on Health | February 2009
Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care | February 2007
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health | June 2002

Events & Media

December 12, 2013 | Genetics in Primary Care Institute
November 14, 2013 | Genetics in Primary Care Institute
November 12, 2013 | Hopkins Center for Health Disparties Solutions
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