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SDOH: Precision Medicine Framework That Could Eliminate Health Inequity

animated gif woman thinking with finger on lips and key social determinants of health symbols

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a global agency that deals directly with international public health concerns. It has launched special initiatives that could help the world achieve a better lifestyle. WHO emphasizes on a new topic designed to prompt social and physical environments. The new agenda guarantees proper health conditions to people and communities around the world. Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) has become a household name in the field of medicine because of its goal to eliminate health inequity. SDOH are what experts refer to as economic and social conditions.

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Social Determinants of Health Infographic

These conditions do not just affect people’s health because they also affect the factors related to health—having a job, access to a proper meal, getting a worthwhile education, living in a good environment, earning enough money, and more.

For WHO to address SDOH, which causes health inequities, it formed a group called the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH).

The CSDH aims to achieve health equity by doing the following:

  1. It must find a way to enrich the state of the daily life, such as where people live, where they are born, and what they do for a living. The CSDH should also consider people’s age.
  2. It must tackle the inequitable distribution of money, resources, and power. These are the primary reasons why the topic of SDOH occurs.
  3. It must also gauge the problem, come up with a strategy, broaden the knowledge base. It also needs to form a workforce that is knowledgeable in the SDOH topic, and intensify public awareness concerning SDOH.

Encouraging Other Healthcare Organizations to Join the Force

More reputable initiatives and healthcare organizations are getting on board to align with the goal of WHO regarding the SDOH. Healthy People 2020, the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy, and the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities are currently working toward addressing SDOH. These health-driven groups have conducted research to come up with their own frameworks. The developed outlines have the ability to point out what actions to be taken. The frameworks could also assist the healthcare groups in finding a solution for eliminating health inequities.

There are different frameworks but all have one thing in common. The outlines aim to achieve health equity in communities and nations around the globe.

Healthy People 2020 and Its SDOH Framework

Healthy People 2020 managed to develop a ‘place-based’ consolidating framework that has five key areas of SDOH. It is one of the more popular outlines used by the healthcare industry.

The framework has five major domains. It includes Neighborhood and Built Environment, Health and Health Care, Social and Community Context, Education, and Economic Stability.

Each determinant or domain has various issues leading up to the creation of health inequity.

  • Conditions in the environment, access to a proper food supply, the quality of the house, and possible crimes are issues under the ‘Neighborhood and Built Environment’ determinant.
  • Health literacy and access to both healthcare and primary care are issues under the ‘Health and Health Care’ determinant.
  • Discrimination, social cohesion, civic participation, and incarceration are issues under the ‘Social and Community Context’ determinant.
  • Graduation from high school, early childhood education and development, language and literacy, and involvement in higher education are issues under the ‘Education’ determinant.
  • Food insecurity, poverty, employment, and housing instability are issues under the ‘Economic Stability’ determinant.

The widespread support that the topic of SDOH receives is just the first step to achieving a fair and proper lifestyle for people all over the world. Healthcare groups are still making continuous studies, and eventually, the developed frameworks could surely create a bold impact and help eliminate the threat of health inequities.

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