Social Determinants of Health Recognized as Contributing to Health-Related Disparities

New findings recognize that social determinants of health (SDOH) contribute to health-related disparities.

Posted by Louise Henderson, PhD at 11:30 AM on May 11, 2020


Social determinants of health (SDOH) -- the environmental conditions in which people are born, live, learn, work, and age -- are recognized as contributing to health-related disparities. At both the federal and state level, initiatives focused on addressing SDOH within healthcare delivery systems exist. These aim to identify patients with health-related social needs and subsequently find appropriate community services. At each encounter with the healthcare system there is an opportunity to evaluate SDOH to improve healthcare outcomes. This includes at the time of routine preventive care visits, such as screening mammography, to ensure that downstream, recommended follow-up care is more likely to occur.

Dr. Henderson’s team used Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium data to evaluate barriers to receiving healthcare in the year before a woman’s screening mammogram. The barriers focused on caretaker responsibilities, health insurance and cost, and transportation. They found that barriers to healthcare are low in women who have access to mammography screening with 4% reporting a barrier. Among women who did report a barrier, these were associated with SDOH. No insurance or healthcare cost was the most common barrier, which may have implications for downstream workup from screening if abnormalities are detected.

Full Text Citation and Link: Henderson LM, O’Meara ES, Haas JS, Lee CI, Kerlikowske K, Sprague BL, Alford-Teaster J, Onega T. The Role of Social Determinants of Health in Self-Reported Access to Health Care Among Women Undergoing Screening Mammography. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2020 May 5. [Epub ahead of print] [Link to Article]

Posted by: Louise Henderson, PhD