Social determinants of health research

Social determinants of health, are “the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life” (World Health Organization, 2017).

These determinants impact multiple health outcomes, dealing with health care access, to maternal and child health to substance abuse prevention. The information presented here highlights how these various prevention efforts can work together to change systems and make communities healthier.

The below research papers explore the social determinants of health across five main categories. In addition, there are Colorado-specific strategies and resources specific to each topic within these categories.

Social determinants of health meta-analysis

Research on the impact of the five social determinants of health categories and information on promising strategies to address health disparities.

Economic stability

Research on income, employment and housing


Research on educational opportunities and access –– from childcare through higher education.

Health and health care

Research on family-friendly business practices, stress, and employee health.

Neighborhood and environment

Research on access to housing and quality of housing.

Social and community context

Research on connectedness, the impact of the criminal justice system on neighborhoods, and social connections.

Resources to implement the strategies above

Colorado Office of Health Equity

Family-Friendly Workplace Toolkit (Executives Partnering to Invest in Children)

Health in All Policies: A Guide for State and Local Governments (Public Health Institute)

Preserving, Protecting, and Expanding Affordable Housing: A Policy Toolkit for Public Health (ChangeLab Solutions)

Essentials for Childhood Policy Guide (Association of State and Territorial Health Officials)