Social Determinants of Health

Health starts in our homes, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, and communities. We know that taking care of ourselves by eating well and staying active, not smoking, getting the recommended immunizations and screening tests, and seeing a doctor when we are sick all influence our health. Our health is also determined in part by access to social and economic opportunities; the resources and supports available in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities; the quality of our schooling; the safety of our workplaces; the cleanliness of our water, food, and air; and the nature of our social interactions and relationships.1 Babies born just a few miles apart can have dramatic differences in life expectancy. Some will die 20 years earlier than others who live just a short distance away because of differences in social determinants of health, such as education, income, race, ethnicity, and where they live. To improve health, we need to improve people’s opportunities to make healthy choices—in the places where they live, learn, work, and play.

1 Healthy People 2020. Social Determinants of Health. https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-of-health

2 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. City Maps. http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/articles-and-news/2015/09/city-maps.html



 Social Determinants of Health Resources

Patient-Centered Health Advisory Council Issue Briefs


Impacting the Status Quo