This article originally appeared onRACMonitor News 2/10/21
“Permission to republish this article was granted by RACmonitor“
It’s just February, but a steady stream of reports and surveys touting the top social determinants of health (SDoH) and mental health (SDoMH) for 2021 have already begun to appear.
First up is the 2021 Consumer Sentiments and Insights Survey by The Root Cause Coalition, an organization co-founded by AARP Foundation and ProMedica. The survey was conducted online last October, with 1,200 U.S. residents 18 years of age or older, and across the following ethnic groups:
- 16 percent identified as Latinx
- 19 percent African-American
- 65 percent Caucasian
- Income levels of those surveyed ranged from under $50,000 annually to over $100,000.
- Respondents resided across rural, suburban, and urban regions.
In terms of the most important SDoH to impact overall family health and wellness:
- 30 percent of respondents identified economic stability as the most important;
- 27 percent access to quality healthcare;
- 16 percent educational opportunity and attainment;
- 14 percent safety of their neighborhood and environment; and
- 13 percent community context or social isolation.
Survey participants were also queried on which SDoH contributed the most to achieving health and wellness. The top three areas identified were access to:
- Quality healthcare;
- Affordable and nutritious food; and
- Stable and affordable housing.
The survey was directed toward the lay community, which resulted in interesting findings:
- Only 20 percent of respondents knew what the SDoH referred to, and
- 48 percent had never heard the term before.
- Over 65 percent were familiar with the term “health equity.”
- Most of the persons surveyed believed that people with low incomes (under $50,000 annually) are most at risk for issues pertaining to the SDoH, especially persons who are Latinx, over 55 years of age, and those in suburban areas.
Other areas identified as key for attention included the following:
- Job opportunities, which ranked as a particularly high priority among African-Americans;
- Prescription medicines and medical devices, seen as vital by older adults and Latinx populations; and
- Clean water and air, particularly cited by rural respondents.
A final survey area asked respondents who they felt had ultimate responsibility for addressing health disparities aligned with the SDoH. While close to half surveyed saw this issue as a shared responsibility by federal government agencies (42 percent) and local/state/federal policymakers (40 percent), 31 percent viewed public health departments as having a primary role. A total of 59 percent of respondents also believed that each individual bears the primary responsibility for the health and well-being of their greater community. Our Monitor Mondays Listeners Survey this week asked listeners who they felt has the major responsibility for addressing the SDoH. The results were diverse, and appear here. This is the first of many reports to come on the topic, and RACmonitor will continue to report on them as they appear.