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Author Notes:

Corresponding author: srschmi@emory.edu

Disclosures: None to report.


Research Funding:

None to report.


  • Curriculum
  • Editor's Choice
  • Experiential
  • Safety-Net
  • Social Determinants

An Experiential Resident Module for Understanding Social Determinants of Health at an Academic Safety-Net Hospital.


Journal Title:



Volume 13


, Pages 10647-10647

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Introduction: Half of the U.S. population has chronic illness. Many disparities exist in health care for management of chronic disease among poorer individuals, including decreased access to healthy foods, homelessness, and difficulty navigating large hospital systems due to low health literacy. A survey of resident physicians found significant gaps in preparedness to provide cross-cultural care. Education is needed to promote consideration of patients' social and cultural barriers in managing disease and navigating the health care system. This module was created as an introduction to social determinants of health, and highlights disparities in access to healthy food, water, shelter, and medical care in a sample of the residents' own continuity clinic patient panel. Methods: We designed this experiential module to help internal medicine residents at an urban institution better understand how social constructs might hinder patient health. Activities were chosen by learners from a list of options, and carried out in small groups during a half day of protected time. We used reflective writing exercises to elicit resident thoughts about the module. Results: Thirty-nine second-year residents participated in the module. Following the course, 41% of residents submitted reflective statements about their experience. Reflective responses suggest an enhanced appreciation for social determinants of health, a sense of empowerment to advocate for better patient resources, and an appreciation for systems-level factors that play a role in social determinants of health. Discussion: Our results demonstrate that a short, experience-based module can impact resident attitudes about social determinants and improve advocacy around identifying community resources.

Copyright information:

© 2017 Schmidt et al.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/).

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