Exploring the Determinants of the Determinants: Health Policy Influences Health Outcomes

We are at a pivotal moment in the fight for health equity. Social determinants of health are the non-medical factors that greatly influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces shaping the conditions of daily life. What if there are factors that impact those forces? The faculty explains that political determinants of health are those factors. As healthcare providers, our attention has been focused on addressing health inequities downstream at the individual level (clinical encounter), midstream at the community level (social determinants), but less upstream addressing the structures, systems, and policies (political determinants) that result in health inequities. This activity introduces the three major aspects of the political determinants – voting, government, and policy – to provide PAs with a more impactful lens through which to address health inequities.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants should be able to:  

  • Compare U.S. health access and equity standings to other developed countries
  • Review the World Health Organization's definition of social determinants of health
  • Describe the factors, systems, and structures that create, perpetuate, or exacerbate differences in health outcomes
  • Describe the Political Determinant of Health Model
  • Discuss the three major political determinants of health
  • Explore strategies to promote advocacy for action steps in pursuit of health equity