Social Determinants of Health

Around one in five American adults lives with a mental illness, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or an anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Many of these people also have serious, often preventable, physical illnesses, but often don’t get the care they need for those problems. As a result, people with serious mental illnesses die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than others. These illnesses affect minority communities to a substantially greater degree than they do non-Hispanic white populations. Due to the stigma associated with mental illness, difficulty accessing effective treatments and qualified providers, and a lack of clear evidence to support...
Fostering strong partnerships between clinicians and researchers is the key to speeding the discovery and implementation of new asthma treatments, said Judith Woodfolk, MBChB, Ph.D., professor of medicine, Division of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine, during Research!America’s asthma research briefing in Washington, D.C. on May 15. Woodfolk was joined by other experts spanning government, industry and the patient community for a panel discussion about research to prevent, treat and ultimately cure severe asthma. Eleanor Perfetto, Ph.D., M.S., senior vice president of strategic initiatives at the National Health Council,...
At The Ohio State University College of Nursing, our faculty are spearheading important research that is making a difference in lives, improving population health and well-being, and decreasing health care costs. Our faculty have over $3 million of funded grants from the National Institutes of Health to conduct cutting-edge research to improve outcomes in vulnerable populations. Research that nurses conduct is focused on solving real-world problems in real time. A substantial number of our research studies, conducted by faculty in our Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children and Youth, focus on optimizing health and well-being of pregnant women and infants, such as a study funded by the...
When was the last time you stopped to think about your heart? If you can’t remember, it’s probably because it’s been a while. Many of us try to follow a healthy diet and exercise, if time permits, but it’s difficult to make your heart a priority if you don’t know how. Only 55 percent of women actually know that heart disease is their number one killer. Too many women are not aware of the prevalence, risk factors, symptoms, and ability to control their heart health. In fact, a new study released in the journal Circulation on Feb. 20 underscores the gender differences in symptoms of heart attacks for women under 55. The misinterpretation of symptoms puts these younger women at a greater risk...
World Cancer Day, taking place on February 4, aims to "get as many people as possible around the globe to talk about cancer ." This year, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) hopes that, in addition to talking about cancer broadly, people around the world will also discuss the disproportionate impact that cancer has on disadvantaged and minority groups. We must continue to talk about the problem of cancer health disparities and address this pressing issue comprehensively and with passion and commitment. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), cancer health disparities are “adverse differences in cancer incidence (new cases), cancer prevalence (all existing cases),...
Health disparities occur when there is a significant difference in the burden of illness, injury, disability or mortality between demographic groups. A combination of educational, economic and environmental factors – known as social determinants – impact the health outcomes of individuals, often to the detriment of minority groups in the U.S. Contaminated housing, shortage of food stores with healthy choices, and lack of public recreational areas for exercise all contribute to higher rates of – and mortality from – heart disease, cancer and diabetes among non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, according to the Centers for Disease...
New leadership in the White House means new leadership in key government positions such as those at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which houses the Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers (TCC) for Health Disparities Research Program. TCC supports academic, community, and government coalitions that research social determinants and analyze various health- or non-health-related policies that affect health disparities. Social determinants, such as education, income, and community conditions — which are often tied to race and ethnicity — play a significant role in why certain communities experience higher rates of infant mortality , diabetes , stroke , obesity , and breast cancer...

Sidebar Quote

If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana