Social Determinants of Health Treatment as an Essential Structural Change in Primary Care​

Principal Investigator (PI): Dr. Shelley White-Means (University of Tennessee Health Science Center)

Research Model

The research model integrates siloed systems of care, promoting a culture of understanding poverty as an environmentally based condition and provides evidenced-based treatment of social determinants of health (poverty treatment) integrated into a system that traditionally focuses on treatment of physical and behavioral health.

Evaluation Approach

The goal of this project is to provide input on program design obtained via focus groups of key informants and stakeholders and understand social determinant exposures and economic self sufficiency.

Contribution to HSTRC’s Research Agenda 

  • The model is a structural and cultural change in the delivery of health care for persons who live in poverty
  • The model addresses well established and sustained disparities in physical and economic health experienced by low-income, Medicaid-eligible minority populations
  • The model points directly to the need for a defined approach (standard of care) based on science and data to understand and treat poverty as an environmentally-based condition caused by exposures to social determinants of health (SDOH)
  • We provide empirical evidence of whether health outcomes can be further enhanced and sustained by the integration of an evidenced-based treatment of SDOH into a setting that traditionally focuses on treatment of physical and behavioral health