Social Determinants of Health: Addressing the Effects of Psychological Trauma in a Community Using a Social Determinants of Health Approach – A Case Study

Date of Review: February, 2019

This is one of 3 ‘case studies’ in a collection of teaching tools called Social Determinants of Health based on Healthy People (HP) 2020 material aimed at teaching HP students to adopt a new perspective that identifies and includes the multitude of factors that affect the SDH of their patient’s communities and populations and incorporate this understanding into their work. This case study focuses on the relationship between psychological trauma in the community and the influence of the Social Determinants of Health (SDH) as well as its impact on physical and mental health. This instructional material contains a short video description on Newark; New Jersey with introductory materials about SDH and the key determinants in psychological trauma as well as content about trauma-informed care. Four vignettes are included that describe different people with detailed discussion questions. This can be easily integrated into a case-based learning activity in small groups. An expert facilitator or faculty member in both content areas would be required in order to debrief with students There are detailed background and case materials available and this can be easily integrated into SDH or mental health curriculum in the pre-clinical years for health professional (HP) students. Also it could be used in community-based curricula if the topic area is relevant to community partners. This material fills an important and neglected topic in HP education. There is a facilitator guide; and facilitator assessment quiz; learner assessment instrument and scoring rubric. However, one would need to register with APTR and become a member to access and download. I do think that this can be implemented without these additional materials.–Ashti Doobay-Persaud, MD, NCEAS

Corresponding Author’s Email: 


Rutgers School of Nursing

Where Was the Curriculum Implemented?

Newark, NJ

Source of the Curriculum/Resource:

Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR)

Level of Learner Assessment:

Appreciation of content/attitude assessment (self-reflection, blogging with rubric)


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