The notion that social factors have a major effect on human health goes back to ancient Greece. However, the first formal document about social determinants of health (SDoHs) with a global impact was not published until 1998.1 It defined SDoHs as conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes. It listed several SDoHs: early childhood development; education, job opportunities, and income; racial and ethnic and other forms of discrimination; housing, transportation, and neighborhoods; and access to clean air and water and to quality affordable health care. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a critical need to refocus on SDoHs as health care disparities have worsened in populations where racism is endemic.
Jeste DV, Pender VB. Social Determinants of Mental Health: Recommendations for Research, Training, Practice, and Policy. JAMA Psychiatry. 2022;79(4):283–284. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.4385
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