Screening for Social Determinants of Health in Free and Charitable Clinics in North Carolina

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2020;31(1):382-397. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2020.0029.


Free and charitable clinics care for patients at risk of unmet social needs, but limited research is available describing what these clinics do to address social determinants of health (SDH). We conducted a survey of free and charitable clinics in North Carolina to determine the proportion that screen for SDH. Clinics that were members of the North Carolina Association of Free and Charitable Clinics were eligible (n=67). Of the 55 clinics that completed the survey, 34 (61.8%) reported always screening for at least one SDH. The majority that were screening provided information about community resources. Twentyseven (49.1%) reported that they followed-up with patients at the next visit to determine if they received the resources. The primary barrier to screening was a lack of personnel. Future research should focus on how to implement SDH interventions in clinics with limited resources serving patients likely to have a high need for social services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Community Health Centers*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Workforce / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Social Determinants of Health*
  • Young Adult