All that health disparities data gets overwhelming. Here are distinct ways to use and leverage the data to your advantage
What don’t the SDOH and MH impact?
This last few weeks has seen the usual litany of published research on how the social determinants of health and mental health (SDoH & MH) impact health and mental health outcomes. All denote significant care disparities across disease states and populations, including but not limited to the following embedded studies:
- Electronic health record notes reveal clinical document implicit bias concerns
- Housing stability impact show rates for virtual addiction treatment
- Income-based health disparities with low income parents more susceptible to pandemic-related health consequences
- Maternal health disparities across Black Immigrants
- Racial health disparities plague Monoclonal COVID-19 treatment across Hispanic, Black and Asian people
- Racial and socioeconomic disparities impact patient education on smoking cessation
- Rate of preventative cervical cancer screenings across age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and insurance
- Rural and urban disparities in quality of home health care
- Rural patients less likely to receive critical care, and more likely to die from heart problems
- The pandemic’s unequal toll on persons of color in the United States
I’m a research nerd; my colleagues, mentees, and students are most likely breaking into big smiles about now. If there is relevant literature on a topic, I’ll find it. While I’m not a researcher, I will use any metrics and outcomes to craft sustainable solutions, and motivate others to do so.
Data is Overwhelming, BUT
Many persons share their frustration with me about the abundance of SDoH & MH data. It can feel like the massive data speaks to a worsening state of affairs. However, the data is meaningful; you can’t fix what you don’t know! Remember, each piece of literature provides vital validation for necessary legislation, funding, and reimbursement to bridge those identified gaps in care. Here are 5 ways to use the data to advance your SDoH & MH advocacy:
- Stay current on relevant legislation: A flurry of federal and state legislation is on the horizon, all driven by dedicated research. My friends at Aligning for Health maintain an updated roster of SDoH legislation on their site that can be accessed here; current heavyweights include the Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2021 and Leveraging Integrated Networks to Communities (LINC) to Address Social Needs Act. I’d encourage those interested to sign up for weekly bi-weekly notifications on these, and other laws.
- Follow the Funding: Dollars are available to build services and programs that bridge health equity gaps.
- Medline’s Community Impact Grants provide seed grants of $25,000. See the difference small amounts can make, and view the list of 2021 award winners.
- National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities is flush with funding opportunities spanning technology, access to care, and vital population health priorities.
- RISE Association’s SDoH Community follows the moving SDoH & MH needle. Along with scheduled community meetings, webinars and the annual summit, the quarterly newsletter has a full listing of funding opportunities and where to access them. Find out more here.
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Equity Grants are well-known across the industry, and worthy of a peek.
- Rural Health Funding Opportunities are a top priority. The Rural Health Information Hub maintains an updated list of awards on wholistic health inequities for this population.
- USDA Community Food Project Competitive Grants target food insecurity at the community level, a national imperative.
- Join relevant advocacy efforts: Along with RISE Association and Aligning for Health mentioned above, Root Cause Coalition is a national group of organizations committed to reverse and end systematic wholistic health inequities.
- Prioritize the data important to you!: That research churns fast and furiously; follow and sign up for notifications from sites and entities covering the SDoH & MH that matter to you and your organization. This may be research from JAMA or Lancet, Health Affairs, Brookings Institute, Hastings Center, or the CDC. This recent issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation hones in on current pandemic priorities; scroll down to a stellar graphic detailing the wholistic health landscape. The Satcher Institute has updated their Health Equity Tracker with SDoH and PDoH (political determinants of health) by state; they’ve also added behavioral health to the mix!
- Sign up for notifications from those, in the know: That inbox gets busy, so take charge by signing up for notifications from key players in the SDoH space. If you liked this blog post, click on the, Follow Ellen’s Interprofessional Insights button in the sidebar of this page to receive my bi-weekly blog and vital health equity information.
I look forward to your comments on this blog post, and other strategies you use to keep your finger on the pulse of wholistic health equity priorities.
#SDoH #SDoMH #Healthequity #funding #interprofessionalimpact #accesstocare #bridgethosegaps