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Social Determinants of Health: How Environmental Factors Affect Health

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Increasingly, public policy makers, professional organizations, and academics are discussing social determinants of health—the conditions in which people live, work, and age. The impetus for the discussion is a growing awareness that medication and any type of health care is a poor substitute for improving a patient's living conditions. Health care is a necessary but insufficient intervention when people develop chronic disease. Addressing the social determinants of health that include poverty, food insecurity, health literacy, neighborhoods, and the environment is essential if we are to improve an individual's overall health. This is the focus of population health, and to address social determinants of health adequately, the medical team needs to expand to give all team members overlapping duties. It also needs to include social workers and legal representatives. Pharmacists may wonder how the theories associated with social determinants of health can be incorporated into their practices. This article discusses a number of different approaches.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2020

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  • The Senior Care Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Senior Care Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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