A New Way to Talk About the Social Determinants of Health - Minnesota Dept. of Health

A New Way to Talk About the Social Determinants of Health

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)

About this Resource
When to Use It
Things to Consider
Use this Resource

Practices Addressed

Go directly to this resource: A New Way to Talk About the Social Determinants of Health (PDF)

This document from Robert Wood Johnson provides new ways to talk about the social determinants of health for policymakers and other audiences. The authors researched how policymakers see the world of health and developed messaging that was tested with different audiences.

The document contains three chapters and two appendices.

  • The first chapter explains the process and research behind the creation of this guide.
  • The second chapter shares lessons learned about communicating around the social determinants of health, six ways to talk about the social determinants of health, and a glossary of "other terms" to use in place of typical phrasing.
  • The third chapter discusses how to effectively communicate facts and data with this new frame around the social determinants of health.
  • Appendix A outlines Democratic and Republican perspectives on the social determinants of health, and provides communications strategies and common ground between the parties.
  • Appendix B details a study that attempted to identify ways of talking with the general public about the social determinants of health, and includes keys to effective messaging on social determinants.

When to Use

This document can be used as a resource for best practices in the language and framing of social determinants of health. Use it when considering how to communicate with policymakers and other community partners. Chapter 2 provides a concrete list of terms that may resonate with stakeholders better than typical public health language. Chapter 3 provides some helpful guidance about communicating data and facts in a way that resonates with most audiences.

Things to Consider

Chapters 2 and 3 could be used without reading the full document. Chapter 2, p. 7-8, provides a list of alternate language that could be printed and used as quick reference

Use This Resource

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Practices Addressed by This Resource

Img   Build a shared understanding and commitment to health equity
Img   Develop organizational knowledge and skills to advance health equity
Img   Work at the policy level to advance health equity