242347 Health inequities and the social determinants of health framework: A good fit for public health social work?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:30 PM

Emily Ihara, PhD, MSW , Department of Social Work, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Paul Clark, PhD, MSW , Department of Social Work, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
The elimination of racial and ethnic health inequities in the U.S. has received more attention in recent years, but social work's leadership role in this area has been limited. Common challenges for social workers whether in direct practice, community practice, or policy practice are mitigating the effects of poverty and poor health that are exacerbated by racism and oppression. Although social workers often combat oppressive and unjust practices and policies, the movement to end racial and ethnic health inequities has not been an explicit priority among U.S.-based social work professionals, perhaps because of the assumption that health particularly physical health is the primary domain of medical professionals. This presentation will examine the social determinants of health (SDOH) framework and analyze its congruency with social work practice at the individual, community, and policy levels for eliminating racial and ethnic health inequities in the U.S. Community educational events organized by undergraduate social work students will be presented as examples for connecting pedagogy to action in the classroom and beyond. Work towards eliminating racial and ethnic health inequities can contribute to the amelioration of other types of oppression that structure stratification such as those based on gender, sexual orientation, education, income, disability, and geographical location. The social determinants of health framework allows for a broader understanding of the interdependent effects of social policies and services on health and a way for public health social workers to combat the dominance of the medical model approach in their work.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the social determinants of health framework and its relevance to public health social work. 2. Analyze the fit of the SDOH framework with social work practice at the individual, community, and policy levels. 3. Discuss various ideas for connecting pedagogy to action.

Keywords: Social Work, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: my research and teaching is about the social determinants of health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.