Research Shines a Light on SDOH Training

American Academy of Family Physicians (02/04/2019) Devitt, Michael

A recent study out of Northwestern University in Chicago found a lack of specificity in how residency programs incorporate social determinants of health (SDOH) within their training. SDOH curricula varies widely in terms of development, implementation, and evaluation, and a key finding was that SDOH training is often not required. Residents' SDOH-related learning methods also had wide variance, with curricula in 32 programs using didactics for content delivery, while 22 programs employed experiential community-based learning. Curricula variations also demonstrated that there were many ways of training residents on the same topic. The researchers concluded that the value of SDOH training is critical to resolving health disparities, and they urged accrediting agencies to be more direct in mandating SDOH training among physicians. They also called on specialty societies and organizations — especially those representing family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics — to devise standard practices on the content, delivery, and assessment of SDOH curricula, and to select standard outcomes evaluations.

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