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The need to address social determinants of health during critical care training

American Thoracic Society Scholar November 15, 2022

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Research Areas

PAIR Center Research Team


Critical illness affects more than 5 million adults, children, and neonates annually in the United States. Adult, pediatric, and neonatal intensive care units (ICUs) manage vulnerable populations with complex diseases that are impacted by their environments. Social determinants of health (SDOH)—defined by the World Health Organization as “conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age”—account for 30–55% of health outcomes, contribute to mortality in critical care, and severely impact health spending. Given their importance, several national societies call for the integration of SDOH in healthcare delivery. However, the role of addressing SDOH remains understudied. As aspiring intensivists, we reflect on personal experiences with vulnerable patients and describe how trainees can play a key role in integrating SDOH and critical care.