Video Curriculum on Screening for the Social Determinants of Health

Publication ID Published Volume
9575 October 9, 2013 9


Introduction: Social determinants of health (SDH) are emerging as a major barrier to the promotion of child health in the twenty-first century. The effects of poverty, including food insecurity, unsafe housing conditions, inadequate educational interventions, domestic violence, and limited access to medical care, have been linked to poor health and developmental outcomes in children. Many pediatric residents lack competence in identifying families that face social, economic, or environmental difficulties and feel inadequately prepared to counsel and refer patients and families to appropriate community resources due to their limited training during medical school and early residency years. Methods: This curriculum was developed following a needs assessment and positive feedback obtained after a brief one-time educational experience with videotaped social history vignettes. Scripts for a series of appropriate and inappropriate video vignettes depicting typical scenarios of resident physicians screening for SDH in continuity clinic were developed, with clinic parents and resident physicians acting in their respective roles. A series of “Day in the Life” videos was also created to allow actual patients and families from the clinic tell their story of how screening, detection, and intervention impacted their family’s lives. Residents experience this resource by attending the included didactic PowerPoint presentation, viewing the appropriate/inappropriate vignettes, engaging in group discussion, viewing the “Day in the Life” videos, and participating in a final discussion. Results: The vast majority (> 95%) of participating residents strongly agreed/agreed that this education addressed important topics and included a good combination of both didactic and interactive components. Resident selfrated competence in screening for housing, benefits, and educational concerns significantly improved (p < 0.05 for each). Parents seen by residents who received this education reported that the resident was significantly more likely to screen for both domestic violence and depression. Although not significant, parents also recalled being screened more frequently for food insecurity, public benefits issues, housing, and educational needs. Discussion: Many pediatric residents lack competence in counseling and referring patients and families to appropriate community resources. Additionally, the majority of pediatric residents were not raised in poverty, so they cannot build upon their past experiences. Through the use of these vignettes, videotaped first-hand accounts, and discussions, residents are better equipped to identify and aid families in need.

Editor’s Note
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Klein M, Beck A, Kahn R, et al. Video curriculum on screening for the social determinants of health. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2013;9:9575.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this session, learners will be able to:

  1. Recognize the barriers to health facing patients and families from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.
  2. Discuss empathetic engagement of patients and families in an attempt to maximize residents’ effectiveness in screening for social determinants of health (SDH).
  3. Formulate a plan to mitigate the effects of SDH through referrals to government agencies and/or community resources.


  • Social Determinants of Health, Poverty, Primary Health Care, Resident Education, Medical Legal Partnership, Health Equity Research

Prior Scholarly Dissemination

  • “Give me your tired, your poor, and your huddled masses:” Developing an innovative curriculum to teach residents to address the social determinants of health. Association of Pediatric Program Directors Meeting, Nashville, TN; April 2013.
  • “Teaching Today’s Healthcare Providers:” Using an innovative video curriculum to impact screening for social determinants of health. The National Medical Legal Partnership Meeting, Washington DC; April 2013.
  • Stimulated Social History Videos: Can They Affect Practice and Impact Family Perception of Care? The Pratt Research Lectures platform presentation, Cincinnati, OH; May 2013.

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ISSN 2374-8265