The Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) by Health Canada is a crucial concept for premed students to understand as it highlights the various personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that influence individual and population health. These factors include income, education, employment, childhood experiences, physical environments, social supports, coping skills, access to health services, biology, genetics, gender, culture, and race.
Understanding the SDOH is essential for premed students because it emphasizes the importance of considering a patient's social and economic context when providing medical care. By being familiar with the SDOH, future physicians can recognize and address health inequalities and work towards creating a more equitable healthcare system.
Health inequalities refer to differences in health status between individuals and groups, which can be due to genetics, lifestyle choices, or social determinants. Health inequity, on the other hand, refers to health inequalities that are unfair, unjust, and modifiable. Health equity seeks to reduce these inequalities and increase access to opportunities and conditions conducive to health for all.
Premed students can prepare as future physicians by integrating the knowledge of SDOH into their practice, advocating for policies that address these determinants, and working collaboratively with other sectors to improve health equity. By acknowledging and addressing the SDOH, premed students can develop a more holistic, patient-centered approach to medicine, ultimately improving patient outcomes and reducing health disparities within the population.