A Framework for Educating Health Professionals to Address the Social Determinants of Health


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The World Health Organization defines the social determinants of health as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.” These forces and systems include economic policies, development agendas, cultural and social norms, social policies, and political systems. Educating health professionals in and with communities negatively affected by the social determinants of health can generate awareness among those professionals about the potential root causes of ill health, contributing to more effective strategies for improving health and health care for underserved individuals, communities, and populations. This is the context in which the expert committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine developed a highlevel framework for educating health professionals to address the SDH. The committee’s framework aligns education, health, and other sectors to better meet local needs in partnership with communities.