Evaluating Strategies For Reducing Health Disparities By Addressing The Social Determinants Of Health

Health Aff (Millwood). 2016 Aug 1;35(8):1416-23. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1357.


The opportunities for healthy choices in homes, neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces can have decisive impacts on health. We review scientific evidence from promising interventions focused on the social determinants of health and discuss how such interventions can improve population health and reduce health disparities. We found sufficient evidence of successful outcomes to support disparity-reducing policy interventions targeted at education and early childhood; urban planning and community development; housing; income enhancements and supplements; and employment. Cost-effectiveness evaluations show that these interventions lead to long-term societal savings, but the interventions require more routine attention to cost considerations. We discuss challenges to implementation, including the need for long-term financing to scale up effective interventions for implementation at the local, state, and national levels.

Keywords: Determinants Of Health; Disparities; Minority Health; Public Health.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child Health*
  • Female
  • Health Planning / organization & administration*
  • Health Policy
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Policy Making
  • Public Health
  • Risk Assessment
  • Social Determinants of Health / economics*
  • Social Determinants of Health / trends
  • United States