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What are Social Determinants of Health?
Conditions in our communities – called the Social Determinants of Health – have a greater influence on health than other factors, like genetics, individual choices, or access to healthcare. They are shaped by forces like structural racism, poverty, and the distribution of money, power, and resources at the global, national, and local levels. Social determinants of health influence the opportunities available to people to live healthy lives.
To better understand what affects health in Rhode Island, the Department of Health worked with partners to develop the Rhode Island Health Equity Measures. Making improvements in these areas can help improve health and opportunities for communities across the state.
Rhode Island Health Equity Measures:
- INTEGRATED HEALTHCARE: All community members have access to the social services and healthcare services that they need to be healthy. Clinical services work together with community-based services to ensure that barriers such as cost, language, and transportation don’t stop people from reaching their optimal health and accessing needed care. Community based services and clinical services work together to support the physical, social, and spiritual well-being of people and the communities they live in. Includes: Healthcare access; Social Services; Behavioral Health
- COMMUNITY RESILIENCE: All community members are confident that they can have a voice in local decision-making. These residents feel connected to their neighbors and other members of their geographic community and come together with them frequently. Local policies support the well-being of vulnerable populations. Includes: Civic Engagement, Community Connectedness (or Social Vulnerability), Equity in Policy
- PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT: All community members live, work, and play in environments that support their health. Their physical environment is free of hazardous levels of lead and other toxins that can impact health. Their physical environment also promotes healthy behaviors by making it safe, easy, and enjoyable to be physically active. Includes: Natural Environment, Transportation, Environmental Hazards
- SOCIOECONOMICS: All community members are financially thriving. Community members can afford healthy food and safe, clean (healthy) housing. Community members have multiple opportunities for economic mobility such as education and non-traditional career pathways. These residents earn fair wages for the price of living. Residents who want jobs can get them. Includes: Housing Cost Burden, Food Security, Education
- COMMUNITY TRAUMA: All community members feel safe where they live, work and play. Community members do not experience discrimination in healthcare, social services, or criminal justice systems. They feel at ease within their communities. Existing trauma has been identified. Communities have the tools and resources needed to heal. Includes: Discrimination, Criminal Justice, Public Safety
To learn more about Rhode Island's Health Equity measures click here.