The Social Determinants of Health as part of the Medical School Curriculum: An Exploratory Analysis of Domestic and International Medical Schools
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The social determinants of health (SDOH) are increasingly recognized as an important topic however it is only recently that the American medical focus has incorporated anything other than biological pathways to health. An ideological shift from our current practice of `disease-care' to a framework that includes the socio-economic environment is challenging. As education is an effective way to influence change it is important to know what American medical students are learning about the SDOH and, more importantly, what are they not learning when compared to medical students outside of the US. To assess the emphasis placed on the social determinants of health in medical education, the curricula of 26 universities were analyzed for key terms to ascertain the presence of the SDOH. Results indicate that American medical students overall have less exposure to the SDOH throughout their required course work when compared to schools outside of the United States. Canadian medical schools in particular integrate these concepts into the majority of a students' coursework. By looking at a snapshot of medical curricula we can understand where medical education in the United States currently stands as well as where it has room to expand. Identifying what gaps exist in medical education will enable curriculum committees to address these gaps to ensure a more holistic medical education for future physicians.
- Health services