One of our missions here at C3S is to understand how social and environmental factors can impact people’s ability to thrive and reach their full potentials. As such, the point of view that characterizes social marginalization, mental illness, and health disparities as failures in virtue—or if not virtue, then something more basic like decision making or self-control—will inevitably be inadequate when trying to address inequality. Thus, the question arises: what’s the best way to understand these systemic problems, and how can we create tools to remedy them? Fortunately, we’re not the only people who are asking these questions.
Healthy People 2030
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) uses a model of communal well-being called the Social Determinants of Health or SDOH. The CDC defines Social Determinants of Health as “conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.” In other words, the likelihood that someone will lead a safe and fulfilling life is heavily dependent on the various conditions of their environment. So if you live in an area with, say, no nearby medical facilities, for instance, it’s going to be much harder for you to access good healthcare than someone who lives down the street from a hospital.
The CDC divides the Social Determinants of Health into five categories: economic stability, education access & quality, healthcare access & quality, neighborhood & built environment, and social & community context.
Source: Healthy People 2030, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Some specific examples of Social Determinants of Health provided by the CDC include the following:
- Safe housing, transportation, and neighborhoods
- Racism, discrimination, and violence
- Education, job opportunities, and income
- Access to nutritious foods and physical activity opportunities
- Polluted air and water
- Language and literacy skills
By using the model of SDOH as an analytical framework for understanding systemic inequality, the CDC hopes to, in their own words, “Create social, physical, and economic environments that promote attaining the full potential for health and well-being for all,” by the year 2030.
C3S has piggy-backed onto the CDC’s framework hoping that AI can help connect people to resources they have historically been denied. Moreover, we understand that if we want to improve the lives of marginalized people, it will take whole communities working together to tackle complex arrays of problems and scarcities. The app allows clients and community organizations to seamlessly connect, opening up new social capital networks to clients. By enabling people to become more interconnected with their communities, C3S can help create social and environmental conditions where people survive and thrive as happy members of society.
To learn more about the CDC Health Healthy People 2030 initiative, including the science behind the project, visit their website.
To see how C3S employs the SDOH framework to understand and tackle inequality, check out our website’s SDOH page.