We want to call your attention to the position statement recently released by the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) on the internist’s role in addressing social determinants of health. The statement calls on internists and community practitioners to expand their reach beyond the medical office and hospital bedside to partner with others in addressing social determinants of health. Underlying these social determinants is a history of institutionalized racism and structural barriers that affect health outcomes. SGIM’s position statement challenges physicians and health care leaders by issuing actionable recommendations in specific spheres of their influence as practicing physicians, educators, researchers, health system leaders and public health advocates.
We believe that faculty throughout the Department of Medicine are well positioned to engage in self-reflection about their own practices, teach future physicians and conduct research about social determinants and upstream causes of health inequities, in addition to being leaders in designing, implementing and evaluating community-engaged programs to mitigate downstream health-related social needs and reduce health inequalities.
For more information, see the full statement in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.