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Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)

What are social determinants of health (SDOH)?

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are factors contributing to inequities and disparities in health, thus affecting individuals’ quality of life and well-being.  

There are five domains of social determinants of health: 

  1. Economic stability 
  2. Education access and quality 
  3. Healthcare access and quality 
  4. Neighborhood and built environment 
  5. Social and community context 

Given the range of these domains, there are many social determinants of health examples, including: 

  • Education, income and job opportunities  
  • Racism, violence and discrimination 
  • Safe housing, neighborhoods and transportation  
  • Access to exercise opportunities and nutritious foods  

Social determinants of health often exist across communities. 

Why are social determinants of health (SDOH) important to healthcare?

Social determinants of health are important because they indicate which areas affect individuals’ access to a safe, healthy life. With this understanding, healthcare organizations can develop appropriate procedures, environments, technologies and healthcare delivery methods. These measures, in turn, increase inclusivity in healthcare and improve patient outcomes across all populations.