The mechanisms that link the social determinants of health and health disparities are constructs in the causal chain that lead from the larger social structures, such as the economic or policy environment, to health outcomes. For example, the economic environment is linked to health outcomes through the mechanisms of social caste placement, low-control/high demand jobs, discrimination, and the physiological response to stress from occupying a lower rung on the social hierarchy. In this assignment, I’m asking you to examine your current beliefs/attitudes towards things like educational attainment, poverty, lifestyle choices, and health behaviors, and to re-assess those attitudes based on what you have learned from the readings in this course.
The reaction paper is a documentation of your first reaction(s) to the content of the assigned readings and how the content “fits” with your own life experiences and beliefs. From the READINGS in this module, select ONE or TWO “mechanisms” that link the social determinants of health (for example, discrimination, segregation, the stress response, etc.) to health disparities, and discuss how you felt after learning more about these pathways to poor health behaviors and outcomes.
For each of the above-selected mechanisms:
1) Describe the part of the reading that grabbed your attention or caused a cognitive or emotional reaction.
2) Identify the “mechanism” that links a social determinant of health (e.g., policy, economic environment, income, education, occupation) to a specific health outcome.
3) Describe in one or two paragraphs how you felt during/after reading the section and why you believe you felt the way you did.
4) Identify one Public Health community level intervention that could address the “mechanisms” you have identified with the goal of improving health outcomes.
The goal of the reaction paper is to encourage discussion and debate on the course readings and content. You can be creative, keeping in mind your audience (classmates and instructor). This paper should not exceed three, double-spaced typewritten pages (12 point font), not including references. Your paper will be evaluated based on:
- The extent to which you provide the reader with concise thesis statements identifying the social determinant linkages (mechanisms),
- Your articulation of personal reactions demonstrating how you have come to view the concepts from a new, informed perspective, and
- Your identification of at least one Public Health intervention to address/change the identified mechanism