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Asked & Answered:12 Questions About Social Determinants of Health

By J. Emilio Carrillo, MD, MPH on 10/12/18 10:03 AM

Our recent live learning event, Social Determinants & Cross-Cultural Care, presented by Dr. Emilio Carrillo, explored the history and impact of social determinants of health (SODH) and presented real-world case studies to show how health practitioners can make a real difference to improve patient health outcomes. Here are the answers to questions submitted by participants that Dr. Carrillo did not have time to answer during the event. You can also access the event slides and recording.

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Border Walls: Cultural Competency and the Hispanic/Latino Population

By Alexander Green, MD, MPH on 10/4/18 4:22 PM




In the 1990s, before I started my second year of medical school at University of California, San Diego (just 30 minutes north of the Mexican border) I made a decision that would change my life. The second-year curriculum allowed for a number of elective courses. We were supposed to select from a catalogue of options—radiology, advanced anatomy, medical ethics, and many others. Most students chose two per semester. I chose one that spanned the entire year: Medical Spanish.

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Social Determinants of Health: Taking Action in a Clinical Setting

By Alexander Green, MD, MPH on 8/16/18 10:30 AM

How clinicians can address social determinants of health

We have known for decades that income, education, race, gender, and other social factors have a bigger impact than medical care on people’s health and life expectancy. Social determinants of health (SODH) are well documented by respected organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).

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News Roundup | Week of June 15, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 6/15/18 4:02 PM

Why Being Black in America is Bad for Your Health

After more than a year of in-depth reporting in Baltimore, The Atlantic has published a long read that explores why, as a group, black Americans are significantly less healthy than white Americans. The piece follows a woman named Kairra, who is 27, black, very overweight, and suffers from a host of health problems that are usually associated with people three times her age. In Baltimore, as well as other segregated cities like Chicago and Philadelphia, the low-income, mostly black neighborhoods have a life expectancy that is 20 years lower than more affluent, whiter neighborhoods. The gap can be attributed to several factors, including violence, diet, environmental hazards, substance abuse, and stress.

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News Roundup | Week of May 25, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 5/25/18 3:41 PM

In this week's News Roundup:
  • Health Equity Bill Introduced in Congress
  • Medical Schools Must Do More to Combat Racism
  • Experiment with Barbershop Clinics is Succeeding

Health Equity Bill Introduced in Congress

The Congressional Tri-Caucus, made up of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus, has introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018 (HEAA), a bill that attempts to address health disparities based on race and ethnicity. The authors note several reasons for these disparities, including language and cultural barriers to care.

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You Signed the #123forEquity Pledge. Now What?

By Megan Bedford on 5/24/18 10:20 AM

To date, 1,656 organizations, 51 state hospital associations, and 11 municipal hospital associations have signed onto the American Hospital Association's (AHA) #123forEquity Pledge to eliminate healthcare disparities. That means every state, and nearly 30% of our nation's hospitals, are represented in the movement to improve health equity. But the road between pledging good intention and effecting actionable change can be poorly marked, and dotted with unseen obstacles. In this post we'll review the key tenets of the AHA's Equity of Care Campaign, rationale for participation, and key actions hospitals and health systems can start to focus on today.

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News Roundup | Week of May 18, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 5/18/18 5:07 PM

In this week's News Roundup:
  • Near-Miss Mothers: For Every Woman Who Dies Post-Childbirth, Thousands More Come Close
  • Surging Opioid Overdose Rate in Latinos Tied to Language Barriers
  • More Transgender-Inclusive Healthcare is Essential

Near-Miss Mothers: For Every Woman Who Dies Post-Childbirth, Thousands More Come Close

The maternal mortality rates in the U.S. are grim, but the number of women who suffer postpartum complications that nearly cause death are even worse. For every woman who dies after childbirth, at least 70 come close. Some estimates put the number of women who suffer "severe maternal morbidity" at around 80,000 per year. A report by NPR/ProPublica finds that many of these complications are preventable, and there's a common theme that postpartum mothers don't feel their concerns are taken seriously by healthcare providers.

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News Roundup | Week of May 11, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 5/11/18 2:10 PM

In this week's News Roundup:
  • Unconscious Bias Training Can Ease Crisis in Black Maternal Mortality
  • Stigmatizing Language in Medical Records Affects Patient Care
  • Discrimination Causes Latinas to Be Less Satisfied with Contraception
  • Documentary Explores Desegregation of Healthcare System

Unconscious Bias Training Can Ease Crisis in Black Maternal Mortality

We've reported extensively on the dismal maternal mortality rates in the U.S., and the crisis in black maternal mortality in particular. A new piece by NBC News follows the stories of two black mothers who experienced serious complications with their deliveries. Both women felt their medical teams were dismissive and brusque, and that their health problems may have been avoided with better communication. They are among the 32% of black women who feel they’ve been discriminated against in physicians’ offices. Unconscious (or implicit) bias on the part of healthcare providers has very real consequences for patient outcomes. Bias training may not be the complete solution, but it is part of the solution, and should become a standard practice in all medical schools and healthcare organizations.

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News Roundup | Week of May 4, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 5/4/18 11:07 AM

In this week's News Roundup:

How Empathy Keeps People Out of the Hospital

Growing evidence shows that more empathetic care can keep people healthier and reduce hospital visits. A new piece by NPR's Marketplace profiles Philadelphia's Penn Center for Community Health Workers, which pairs community health workers with patients who frequent hospitals due to chronic illness, poverty, or mental health problems. The community health workers visit patients at their homes and help them navigate their health issues. The Penn Center makes an effort to match its staff with patients who share a similar background, in order to inspire trust. A randomized, controlled study showed the Center reduced hospitalizations by 30%.

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News Roundup | Week of April 27, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 4/27/18 12:21 PM

Asian Americans Undertreated for Mental Health Disorders

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