According to Healthy People 2020, social determinants of health (sdoh) are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age that affect a wide range of health and quality-of-life outcomes and risk.
Example of social determinants include:
- Transportation options
- Public safety
- Access to health care services
- Exposure to crime, violence and social disorder
- And much more
While a mother’s preconception and prenatal health is critical to ensuring every baby has a healthy start in life, addressing the social determinants of health across the life course plays a large role in impacting fetal/infant deaths and disparities in birth outcomes.
Medical care alone will not reduce fetal and infant mortality. There must be an effort to eliminate underlying societal and structural root causes of poor birth outcomes to achieve health equity and ensure all babies live to celebrate their first birthday.
Healthy People 2020 offers a “place-based” organizing framework, for addressing five key areas of the social determinants, including: economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, and neighborhood and built environment.
The Coalition has created a Health Equity Task Force towards addressing the social determinants of health by working with health care providers and community partner agencies to make sure that each baby has the same resources and opportunity to be born healthy.
We have signed March of Dime’s Birth Equity for Moms and Babies Consensus Statement and you can too. More health equity resources can be found here.