Author: Wylie A, Leedham-Green K and Tadeka Y Publication Year: 2014
Summary: Social determinants of health (‘SDH’) often underlie the health behaviours that contribute to non-communicable disease. This paper reports on the introduction of core curriculum modifications with explicit learning outcomes around SDH in one large medical school.
Description: Background: Social determinants of health (‘SDH’) often underlie the health behaviours that contribute to non-communicable disease. Doctors need to be aware of health behaviours and their determinants and the evidence-based interventions to address them.

Aim: Co-ordinated core curriculum modifications were instigated with explicit learning outcomes in and around health promotion and SDH. This paper reports on the research evaluation of process and outcome and sustainability of these changes in one large medical school.

Method: Mixed method research data were used to inform an action research cycle. Data were analysed for content and emerging themes related to smoking cessation, obesity reduction, and global health were informed by SDH.

Results and analysis: Students demonstrated knowledge and concern relating to SDH, although some initially lacked confidence in applying this knowledge. Students reported inconsistent modelling clinical environments. Attention was given to the learning environment as well as teacher training to facilitate and support self-efficacy through reflection and critical analysis.

Conclusion: Newer medical education themes such as SDH need robust preparation for inclusion in core curricula, with attention to the social, cognitive and environmental impacts on learning. Teaching and experiential learning for SDH is now embedded in this curriculum.

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