In this issue…

The National Collaborative for Education to Address the Social Determinants of Health (NCEAS) is a HRSA-funded Academic Unit for Primary Care Training and Enhancement. The mission of the NCEAS is to prepare primary care clinicians with the expertise and leadership to address the social determinants of health (SDOH).

Do you have relevant SDOH resources, curricula, or evaluation tools to share? Please send them to us at

Director’s Message

The social, cultural, economic and institutional contexts in which we live, work and age exert powerful effects on health outcomes. These circumstances are responsible for most of the health inequalities that arise within and between countries and local communities. In the United States, a country which spends more per capita on healthcare than other large high-income economies, health outcomes like life expectancy and infant mortality are the lowest. Furthermore, within the United States, health inequities are large. Across the income distribution, lower income is strongly associated with reduced longevity. At the extremes, the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest 1% is 10 years for women and almost 15 years for men and the gap is widening. There are many reasons for these differences that are largely not due to differences in health care. Economic instability, interpersonal stressors or lack of support, lower educational attainment, obstacles to healthy personal behaviors and many other contextual and environmental factors can negatively impact health. The impact can be profound. Children exposed to major adverse stressful experiences have higher rates of many major chronic illnesses in adulthood and worse long term health outcomes over the lifespan as a result.

There clearly is an appreciation of the influence these factors have on health among many health professions educators. But, this awareness has not always led to robust efforts by schools and training programs to prepare doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals by providing them with state-of-the-art knowledge and skills needed to produce the best health outcomes in the face of social determinants within and outside healthcare.

The National Collaborative for Education to Address the Social Determinants of Health (NCEAS) seeks to accelerate the exchange, uptake, and spread of useful approaches to prepare healthcare professionals to better address the social determinants of health. We are striving to help educators and practitioners to find the curricula, tools and resources they need to help their trainees become better prepared to address social determinants in clinical settings and to be more powerful advocates for social and policy changes that support better health in the communities in which they live and work.

Steve Persell, MD, MPH is the Director of the National Collaborative for Education to Address the Social Determinants of Health

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Explore our growing collection of SDOH curriculum, SDOH screening tools, webinars, blogs and more. Want to contribute something to the site? Contact us at

Resource of the Month

Case-Based-Learning Curriculum to Engage Pre-clerkship Students in Principles of Health Equity, Quality, Safety, Teamwork, and Economics

This resource describes a curriculum for second year medical students designed to help students begin to understand the health care system and how social determinants of health, payment structures, and design of care interact to impact patient care and outcomes. The full curriculum contains 3 sessions designed to be spaced across the second year medical school curriculum, ideally placed within organ system modules that correspond to topic areas (i.e. retinopathies, diabetes, and cancer). The modules include facilitator guides and student learning guides that could be easily used elsewhere; scoring rubrics for assignments and teamwork are institution-specific but could be adapted by other schools. SDoH topics include regional variations in care, access, health belief models, literacy/numeracy, and how payment systems can exacerbate disparities. Only student satisfaction and knowledge acquisition are assessed.

Learn more here!

What’s the Latest?

News, Conferences, and Upcoming Events
  • Gretchen West shares national examples of best SDOH practices at the Building a Culture of Health conference.
  • This case study demonstrates how the Alliance for Better Health launched a referral network to help providers to ensure patients have access to housing, food, education, transportation and more.
  • Curious to learn more about incorporating social determinants of health data into EHRs? Read more about here.
  • The Aetna Foundation has awarded nearly $2.4 million in grant funding to 25 non-profit organizations working to address the social determinants of health.


  • October 19
    Policy to Practice: Addressing the Social Determinants of Child Health One | Houston, TX | Details
  • October 24
    Utilizing Academic Partnerships to Enhance Capacity in Small Health Departments | Webinar | Details
  • November 8-9, 2018
    Addressing Health Disparities: The Role of Translational Research | Nashville, TN | Details
  • November 14-15, 2018
    Social Determinants of Health Forum: Exploring Medication Access & Quality | Alexandria, VA | Details

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