Assessing Social Determinants of Health in Women of Reproductive Age and Exploring Community Resource Solutions




Settlemyre, Destinie
Crompton, Maria
Ebert-Blackburn, Didi


0000-0003-1159-0643 (Settlemyre, Destinie)

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Purpose: Social determinants of health are recognized as important factors in health outcomes and life expectancy. These factors have been shown to significantly impact vulnerable populations, such as women. Disparities in this population are known to worsen maternal-fetal outcomes by increasing the risk of gestational diabetes, maternal mortality, preterm birth, and low birth weight. Interventions directed toward social determinants have been shown to improve health and are essential to patient-centered care. This study aims to highlight the presence of social needs in this population and to identify specific opportunities we have in our roles as providers to address these health disparities. Methods: This study focused on women of reproductive age, defined as 18-45. Sixty women were surveyed using a validated survey tool to assess several areas of social health and identify any needs. After completion of the survey, community resources were offered to assist with the areas of need that had been identified. These results were later analyzed to identify specific needs in this population as compared to the general population. Results: 73% of the women who completed the survey had at least one social need. Of those with need, 85% had food insecurity related to socioeconomic status. This is over six times greater than the current overall clinic rate of 13%. After needs were identified, almost all participants were receptive to the community resources offered and expressed plans to utilize them. Conclusion: With an increase in social need comes a decrease in the quality of health for women of reproductive age. This study demonstrates the increased prevalence of need in this population, especially in food insecurity. It is clear that more frequent screening for food insecurity and other social needs are needed to monitor the well-being of reproductive-aged women. Once needs are identified, women are willing to take action to improve their lives if community resources are offered to them. Clinicians are the connection between a patient's needs and the community resources that can meet those needs. Incorporating a standardized survey and community resource list into clinical practice has the potential to bridge the health disparity gap displayed in this patient population to improve maternal-fetal outcomes. In addition, gaining more data across multiple clinics would provide the evidence necessary to influence policy change that can help to improve the health of future generations.