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Social Determinants of Health: Where You Live Matters

Useful Resources

Social Determinants of Health: Where You Live Matters

June 29, 2010

The circumstances of where and how you are born, grow up, live, work  and grow old shape your health, just as your genes and lifestyle do. The growing field of "social determinants of health" focuses on the impact of these socioeconomic factors on health. Education, politics, violence, income, access to health care, social support, culture, transportation, environmental hazards, physical living conditions and even racism are topics for policymakers, researchers and journalists to consider as they examine health and health disparities within communities, nations and the world.


Unnatural Causes: Is inequality making us sick?

A seven-part documentary series exploring racial and socioeconomic inequalities in health.

World Health Organization: Social Determinants of Health program

A compilation of news, research and WHO activities related to social determinants of health

University of California-San Francisco Center for Health and Community

An academic center linking social and behavioral sciences, epidemiology and health policy for USCF's four professional health schools.


National Institutes for Health National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities
The Institutes' program for promoting minority health and reducing health disparities.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Designing and Building Healthy Places
Information and resources on designing and building healthier communities.


Human Impact Partners
This Oakland-based organization provides lists of studies related to social determinants of health as well as tools communities can use to assess the impacts of development on health.  

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
This think tank for minority issues has launched a national initiative called "Place Matters" to eliminate health disparities. Its website offers a rich repository of reports, statistics and studies.

U.S. Census Bureau
Offers free demographic data for media coverage of social determinants of health issues. Our primary source for getting age breakdowns by ZIP code was the 2000 U.S. Census.

Nielsen Claritas
Demographic research firm offers detailed, fee-based demographic data used by journalists and marketers.


The California Endowment: Building Healthy Communities
Philanthropic community development initiative to improve health of 14 California communities, which begins this spring. (Disclosure: The California Endowment funds ReportingonHealth.)

Policy Link
National organization advocating for public policies to reduce health disparities and other social inequities.

The Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative

Coalition of California local health departments working on health inequity issues.


More than 100 anti-transgender rights bills were introduced in state legislatures this year. Many focus on children and teens. Join us for our next Health Matters webinar, where we'll explore the health and well-being of transgender youth as states such as Arkansas and Tennessee seek to limit their rights. Our expert panel will share the latest research, seed story ideas and offer reporting advice. Sign-up here!

Are you passionate about helping journalists understand and illuminate the social factors that contribute to health and health disparities at a time when COVID-19 has highlighted the costs of such inequities? Looking to play a big role in shaping journalism today in the United States?  Apply now for one of our positions. 

The best journalism these days wraps compelling narratives around scrupulous data analysis. Apply now for our 2021 Data Fellowship to learn the skills necessary to use big data to inform your reporting on health and social welfare issues. Learn more in this webinar on Aug. 3.


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