Experience of residents learning about social determinants of health and an assessment tool: Mixed-methods research

J Gen Fam Med. 2022 May 15;23(5):319-326. doi: 10.1002/jgf2.559. eCollection 2022 Sep.


Background: Educating healthcare professionals about the social determinants of health is important in improving health outcomes of marginalized patients. Residents' experience of learning about the social determinants of health and a clinical assessment tool remains unclear.

Methods: Residents participated in an online session about the social determinants of health and the assessment tool. Using the New World Kirkpatrick Model, we obtained data about participants' experience from various perspectives. The data were analyzed using a concurrent triangulation mixed-methods design.

Results: The study included 20 out of 30 residents. Their response was good, and self-reported learning scores were increased by the session. They learned when to ask about patients' social conditions, what to ask, and how to coordinate medical care appropriately. Participants reported reflecting on their role as medical professionals and implementing new practices based on their learning, as well as concerns about addressing patients' social conditions.

Conclusion: Through learning about the social determinants of health, and assessment tools, residents both acquired knowledge and skills, and reflected on their previous practice, accepted patients as they are, understood difficult patients better, and developed interprofessional collaboration. Medical education about the social determinants of health can trigger changes in residents' views.

Keywords: assessment tool; mixed‐method study; postgraduate learning; reflection; social determinants of health.