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Perspectives from the society for pediatric research: Interventions targeting social needs in pediatric clinical care

A.F. Beck, A.J. Cohen, J.D. Colvin, C.M. Fichtenberg, E.W. Fleegler, A. Garg, L.M. Gottlieb, M.S. Pantell, M.T. Sandel, A. Schickedanz, R.S. Kahn
Pediatr Res

The social determinants of health (SDoH) are defined by the World Health Organization as the "conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age." Within pediatrics, studies have highlighted links between these underlying social, economic, and environmental conditions, and a range of health outcomes related to both acute and chronic disease. Additionally, within the adult literature, multiple studies have shown significant links between social problems experienced during childhood and "adult diseases" such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension. A variety of potential mechanisms for such links have been explored including differential access to care, exposure to carcinogens and pathogens, health-affecting behaviors, and physiologic responses to allostatic load (i.e., toxic stress). This robust literature supports the importance of the SDoH and the development and evaluation of social needs interventions. These interventions are also driven by evolving economic realities, most importantly, the shift from fee-for-service to value-based payment models. This article reviews existing evidence regarding pediatric-focused clinical interventions that address the SDoH, those that target basic needs such as food insecurity, housing insecurity, and diminished access to care. The paper summarizes common challenges encountered in the evaluation of such interventions. Finally, the paper concludes by introducing key opportunities for future inquiry.

Beck AF, Cohen AJ, Colvin JD, et al. Perspectives from the society for pediatric research: Interventions targeting social needs in pediatric clinical care. Pediatr Res. 2018;84(1):10-21. PMID: 29795202. DOI: 10.1038/s41390-018-0012-1.

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Publication year
Resource type
Peer Reviewed Research
Health & Health Behaviors
Social Needs/ SDH
Children and Youth
Social Determinant of Health
Housing Quality
Housing Stability
Legal Services
Study design