Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 223–225 | Cite as

Accelerating the Implementation of Social Determinants of Health Interventions in Internal Medicine

  • Elena Byhoff
  • Karen M. Freund
  • Arvin Garg
Health Policy

Despite the numerous medical and public health advancements made in the last century, a social gradient of health continues to exist for Americans. Chetty and colleagues recently found that the gap in life expectancy between the richest 1% and poorest 1% of the population was 14.6 years for men and 10.1 years for women, and that this disparity has only widened since 2001.1 These gaps cannot be entirely explained by access to and affordability of medical care.24 A key driving force is a group of factors known as social determinants of health (SDH), defined as the conditions under which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources at the global, national, and local levels.5 Some have estimated that up to 70% of non-modifiable variation in health outcomes is attributable to these social determinants of health.6

The U.S. health care system has begun to recognize the need to address patients’ social and...


guidelines disparities health care delivery community health 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tufts Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Tufts University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  3. 3.Boston Medical CenterBostonUSA
  4. 4.Boston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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