This workbook is for public health practitioners and partners interested in addressing social determinants of health in order to promote health and achieve health equity. In its 1988 landmark report, and again in 2003 in an updated report, the Institute of Medicine defined public health as “what we as a society do to collectively assure the conditions in which people can be healthy.”
The link between social determinants of health, including social, economic, and environmental conditions, and health outcomes is widely recognized in the public health literature. Moreover, it is increasingly understood that inequitable distribution of these conditions across various populations is a significant contributor to persistent and pervasive health disparities. This workbook was created to encourage and support the development of new and the expansion of existing, initiatives and partnerships to address the social determinants of health inequities. Content is drawn from Social Determinants of Disparities in Health: Learning from Doing, a forum sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October 2003. It is designed for a wide range of users interested in developing initiatives to increase health equity in their communities. The workbook builds on existing resources and highlights lessons learned by communities working toward this end. Readers are provided with information and tools from these efforts to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions that address social determinants of health equity.