Planetary health benefits from strengthening health workforce education on the social determinants of health
Health Promot Int
Social inequalities are perpetuating unhealthy living and working conditions and behaviours. These causes are commonly called 'the social determinants of health'. Social inequalities are also impacting climate change and vice-versa, which, is causing profound negative impacts on planetary health. Achieving greater sustainability for human and planetary health demands that the health sector assumes a greater leadership role in addressing social inequalities. This requires equipping health and social care workers to better understand how the social determinants of health impact patients and communities. Integration of the social determinants of health into education and training will prepare the workforce to adjust clinical practice, define appropriate public health programmes and leverage cross-sector policies and mechanisms being put in place to address climate change. Educators should guide health and social workforce learners using competency-based approaches to explore critical pathways of social determinants of health, and what measurements and interventions may apply according to the structural and intermediary determinants of health and health equity. Key institutional and instructional reforms by decision-makers are also needed to ensure that the progressive integration and strengthening of education and training on the social determinants of health is delivered equitably, including by ensuring the leadership and participation of marginalized and minority groups. Training on the social determinants of health should apply broadly to three categories of health and social workforce learners, namely, those acting on global or national policies; those working in districts and communities; and those providing clinical services to individual families and patients.
Valentine N, Ajuebor O, Fisher J, Bodenmann P, Baum F, Rasanathan K. Planetary health benefits from strengthening health workforce education on the social determinants of health. Health Promot Int. 2022;37(3). DOI:10.1093/heapro/daac086. PMID: 35901175.