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Social Determinants of Health

Social determinants of health
credit: Dreamstime

The importance of broad social factors on health outcomes including infectious diseases has long been recognized. These social determinants of health (SDH) are the conditions in which people live and the wider set of forces that affect health. SDH include physical (e.g. characteristics of the natural and built environments), economic (e.g. poverty), social (e.g. discrimination, cultural factors), and political (e.g., laws and policies) systems. Many of these factors influence exposures to and consequences of infectious diseases, and faculty in EMD work on these issues locally, nationally, and globally because understanding and addressing SDH is critical to achieving greater health equity.

Some examples of EMD faculty working on social determinants of health include:

  • Dr. Ko’s research focuses on infectious diseases such as leptospirosis and dengue that emerge and persist in urban slum areas due to rapid urbanization and social inequity. 
  • Dr. Niccolai’s research uses area-based measures of poverty, race, and ethnicity to document disparities that exist across neighborhoods in Connecticut in reportable infectious diseases. She also studies how the social determinants of mass incarceration and housing instability interact to increase risk for HIV among poor individuals. 
  • Dr. Gonsalves studies how social and economic policies can address the potential for infections such as HIV and cholera to spread, and he studies human rights issues related to access to treatment for infectious diseases.

Relevant Courses

  • Implementation Science EMD 533 Reforming Health Systems EMD 580/HPM 580
  • Global Health and Justice Practicum EMD 596/SBS 596

Faculty of Interest

  • Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases); Associate (Adjunct) Professor of Law, Yale Law School; Co-Director, Global Health Justice Partnership; Co-Director, Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency

    Research Interests
    Computer Simulation; Decision Making; Hepatitis C; HIV; Operations Research; Political Systems; Prisoners; Public Policy; Social Justice; Social Medicine; Tuberculosis; United States Food and Drug Administration; Causality; Drug Approval; Drug Users; Social Determinants of Health
  • Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Pharmacology; Director, Emerging Infections Program

    Research Interests
    Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; Epidemiology; Foodborne Diseases; Hepatitis C; Injections; Public Health; Russia; Vietnam; Global Health; HIV Infections
  • Instructor of Public Health Practice (Microbial Diseases)

    Research Interests
    Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; Developing Countries; Ghana; HIV; Hookworm Infections; Malaria; Parasitology; Public Health; Vietnam; Global Health; Nutrition Policy
  • Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases); Program Director- BA-BS/MPH Program in Public Health at Yale

    Research Interests
    Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; Epidemiology; Ethics; HIV; Human Rights; Public Health; Violence; Global Health; Infectious Disease Medicine; Diseases
  • Department Chair and Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and of Medicine (Infectious Diseases); Department Chair, Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases

    Research Interests
    Dengue; Epidemiology; Leptospirosis; Urban Health; Global Health; Meningitis, Bacterial; Infectious Disease Medicine
  • Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases); Director, Development Core at Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS; Director, HPV Working Group at Yale; Co-Director, CT Emerging Infections Program at Yale

    Research Interests
    Epidemiologic Methods; Epidemiology; HIV; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Vaccines; Communicable Diseases, Emerging; Qualitative Research; Human papillomavirus 11

Secondary & Adjunct Faculty