Med Teach. 2023 Sep 7:1-13. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2023.2254920. Online ahead of print.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) as the non-medical factors influencing health outcomes. SDOH is associated with conditions in which people are born, grow, work, and live. Medical schools and licensing bodies are increasingly recognizing the need for doctors and healthcare professionals to be aware of their patient's social context and how it impacts their states of health and disease. However, there is considerable variation in the approaches of different institutions and countries to incorporating SDOH into their curricula. In order to allow clinicians to adopt a holistic approach to patient health, equipping them with extensive knowledge of SDOH would give learners the confidence, skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to effectively engage with patients and their families . This approach aids health professionals with knowledge of the influence of the social context and cultural factors that affect patients' behaviors in relation to health. Incorporating the SDOH in medical and health professional school curricula would contribute towards adequately preparing future healthcare practitioners to provide effective, comprehensive, and equitable care, especially to marginalized and underserved populations. The Guide will take an evidence-based approach grounded in the available contemporary literature and case studies. The focus will be on integrating SDOH into undergraduate and postgraduate medical curricula to promote an understanding of the social factors that influence patients' and communities' health. Ultimately, this guide seeks to contribute to the reduction of inequalities in health.