November 19, 2018 – Social Determinants
Anchor lead: A new series puts the social aspects of health front and center, Elizabeth Tracey reports
What are social determinants of health? A new series in the New England Journal of Medicine examines how things like education, neighborhoods, income and other factors influence someone’s health outcomes. Jeremy Greene, a physician at Johns Hopkins and one of the series founders, explains why it’s important to doctors.
Greene: The social basis of medicine is inextricable from practice. It is at the heart of medicine but we don’t do as good a job in formal medical education at providing tools. That’s why I think that this case series is a very nice recognition of that and a way of developing new teaching modalities to help students call attention to why this is actually important, really at the beginning of the medical career and we also hope these cases will be useful to physicians in practice. :27
Greene says the temptation for both providers and patients is to think only biological mechanisms matter, but social determinants are a major factor. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.