Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Maximizing Federal Investments To Address Social Determinants of Health
Press Release

RELEASE: Maximizing Federal Investments To Address Social Determinants of Health

Washington, D.C. – Social determinants of health—the conditions in which people are born, where they live, and how they work and age—play a major role in the quality of a person’s health. These factors can even do more to promote good health than medical intervention.

A new issue brief from the Center for American Progress examines the challenges in addressing the social and economic conditions that affect health and considers what Congress can do to improve them. The analysis was prepared as a response to a request for information from the Congressional Caucus for Social Determinants of Health.

The issue brief calls on Congress to pass pending legislation that would provide additional funds to address social determinants and public health; improve technology linking medical and social services providers; extend coverage of social support programs to reduce health disparities; and create more opportunities for interagency collaboration. Congress also must pass measures to curb the effects of climate change and advancing environmental justice.

“It’s impossible to improve individual and population health outcomes without developing policies that address factors such as education, economic stability, health care access, environmental harm, neighborhood safety, and other forms of systemic disadvantage,” said Marquisha Johns, associate director for Public Health Policy at CAP and author of the issue brief. “It’s important to make sure that social systems support individuals before illness occurs—especially for more vulnerable and marginalized communities.”

Policy solutions must address discrimination at the intersections of race, gender, LGBTQI+ status, and disability, the issue brief says. Inequities across the United States and their compounding effects lead to poor health, excess medical costs, reduced productivity, and economic loss.

Read the issue brief: “Maximizing Federal Investments To Address Social Determinants of Health” by Marquisha Johns

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org.