What do the social determinants of health determine? NYAM President Dr. Judith Salerno and SVP of Strategy & Programs Dr. Kimber Bogard pose this question in a new article published in the Journal of Urban Health.
"Much has been written and discussed about the importance of the social determinants of health, specifically how social conditions can have a greater influence on health than the provision of health services," they write. "While the concept of SDOH is a vital one to understand and improve contemporary medicine and access to health, the terminology needs work. In 2019, it is clear that the phrase 'social determinants of health' overstates the permanency of the relevant conditions and neglects the process of resilience and the assets which enable people to overcome social barriers to achieve good health outcomes."
In the article, Drs. Salerno and Bogard discuss NYAM's commitment to an "honest examination of the words we use to describe communities that face socially constructed barriers, acknowledging the complex interactions of personal, neighborhood, and structural factors that lead to health outcomes." They also urge all of us to rethink the words we use and the steps we take to ensure respect and inclusivity in pursuit of improving health for all.