Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, and work that shape their physical and emotional wellbeing. They are powerful drivers in health outcomes; for example, there is a 20-year gap in life expectancy between richer and poorer zip codes in the city of Baltimore (We’re working on a social determinants project focused on healthy food access and food justice in north Denver).
Recently I’ve been thinking about applying the concept of social determinants of health to organizations themselves. What are the social determinants of organizational health? What conditions lead to healthy outcomes? Perhaps things like comprehensive onboarding for new employees, continuously updated job descriptions, regular space held for bilateral feedback, and consistent and transparent updates from leadership. We likely spend too much time dealing with organizational health consequences and too little time focusing on organizational health conditions.