Adler, N.E., Cutler, D.M., Fielding, J.E., Galea, S., Glymour, M.M., Koh, H.K., & Satcher, D. (2016). Addressing social determinants of health and health disparities (Discussion paper: Vital directions for health and health care series). Washington, DC: National Academy of Medicine.

Year: 2016


This paper discusses how addressing the social determinants of health can decrease health disparities. The authors utilize a health policy framework to address social determinants of health in order to better population health, reduce health disparities, and lower costs. The authors discuss key issues, cost implications, and barriers to progress, and examine health care financing strategies to reduce health disparities. Three recommendations are offered: 1) Strengthen assessment and action on health-impacting social policies; 2) Expand policies that increase resources and environments fostering healthy behaviors; and 3) Extend the reach and transform the financing of health care services. Such policies typically are not viewed as “health policies” but, in fact, have great potential to reduce health disparities and improve the health and longevity of all Americans.

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