Physicians are increasingly aware of the studies that show the relationships between factors such as ZIP codes, socioeconomic status and health outcomes. COVID-19’s deeply inequitable impact has only further laid bare these tragic associations. The phenomenon is commonly referred to as the social determinants of health.
The AMA recognizes that public health is often determined by factors outside the health care system and is committed to addressing the social determinants of health to improve health outcomes for all Americans.
The AMA also recognizes racism as a serious threat to public health, as a barrier to appropriate medical care, and to the advancement of health equity—defined as “optimum health for all.” The AMA’s “Organizational Strategic Plan to Embed Racial Justice and Advance Health Equity: 2021–2023” provides a framework for advancing greater equity in health care and includes a commitment to push upstream to address determinants of health and root causes of inequities.
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