Social Determinants of Health Field Experience: A How-To Guide

Date of Review: January, 2019

This one-day experiential learning activity for residents in family medicine is posted on the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine website and was sponsored by HRSA. The goal of the day-long curriculum is to deepen residents’ understanding of the community where their patients live, with attention to social determinants of health. Residents visit three community agencies and consider what factors impact access to care for patients residing in that community. Residents use the photovoice technique to photograph the environment with attention to social determinants of health. The resource provides all the instructions that a program director would need to replicate the activity, from creating objectives to building a schedule, to instructing residents on each step of the day, including obtaining consent from subjects they wish to photograph, to holding a debrief. It is clear that experiential learning is the best way for trainees to appreciate SDOH. A link to an excellent video montage is included from the work of the 2016 residents. Residents are ideal learners for this activity, as they are providing care for patients daily, so they can directly connect what they see in the community to the health status of their patients. I would be interested to see more program evaluation data for this curriculum. It would be easiest for a smaller residency program to implement, though larger residencies could divide into small groups and go to more than one neighborhood.— Heather Heiman, MD, NCEAS

Corresponding Author’s Email:


University Of Cincinnati

Where Was the Curriculum Implemented?

Cincinnati, OH

Source of the Curriculum/Resource:

Society of Teachers of Family Medicine

Clinical Specialty:

Family and Community medicine

Outcomes that Have Been Reported for the Curriculum:

Learner satisfaction or reaction

Outcome and Study Design:

Post only

Level of Learner Assessment:

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


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