Social Work Interventions for Addressing Social Determinants of Health
We introduce three studies focused on SDOH related to different health outcomes disparately affecting African Americans: cancer, obesity, and kidney disease. The first study focuses on the influence of discrimination on biology laying the groundwork for aggressive breast cancer. This study employs a transdisciplinary approach that combines multi-level data to highlight the social production of breast cancer. A neighborhood support intervention model is presented to mitigate the relationship between discrimination and health outcomes among African American women. The second study employs a community-based participatory research approach to address the relationship between local food environments and obesity trends. This study highlights the feasibility of implementing a farmers’ market at a federally qualified health center in a rural, majority African American county. Data provide support for policy initiatives focused on improving local food environments as well as initiatives that target low-income, food insecure populations receiving federal food subsidies such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) vouchers. The third study focuses on the influence of social networks on kidney transplantation among African Americans. Findings reveal the benefit of having people in one’s personal and health-related (i.e., kidney dialysis team) social network who are aware of and provide information about kidney transplantation. Discussion will focus on interventions that maximize the delivery of kidney transplantation information through formal and informal channels within one’s social network to increase access to kidney transplant services and reduce transplantation disparities. The studies combine to highlight the unique role social work researchers and practitioners can play in efforts to promote health equity by addressing SDOH.
Warnecke, R. B., et al. (2008). Approaching health disparities from a population perspective: the National Institutes of Health Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities. American Journal of Public Health, 98(9), 1608-1615.