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Bridging Gaps to Build Healthy Communities

May 2019
Full report

Individuals, researchers, and the media perceive and discuss social determinants of health differently. Individuals emphasize influences that affect them daily — whether they have support from family, for example — while researchers and journalists focus on structural factors like education and income level.

Social determinants of health are defined by the World Health Organization as the “circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, and the systems put in place to deal with illness.” These include economic stability, education, access to food, neighborhood, social support, and the healthcare system.

To gain a deeper understanding of how individuals perceive social determinants as compared to researchers and journalists, Elevance Health partnered with Quid to examine academic papers, news articles, and blog posts from patient forums focused on cancer, diabetes, and mental health conditions. The analysis illustrates the differences in how these groups discuss the role of social determinants.


  • Overview of social determinants of health
  • Perceptions of social determinants among researchers, the media, and individuals
  • Detailed discussion of issues of importance to individuals
  • Opportunities to bridge gaps for individuals and communities

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