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You are here: Home Modules Module 1: Conduct a Socio-Ecological Assesment Module 1 Introduction
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Module 1: Conduct a Socio-Ecological Assesment

This module will help your team examine the personal and environmental factors that contribute to the health iStock_000006321121XSmallissue you’re working on. We begin with an overview of socio-ecological assessments, then, as you start the step-by-step process, we explore themes in population health research to help you find evidence to the role of the determinants of health and health disparities in the issue. This module also sets you on a search for research evidence to help you decide which determinants can be modified and which levels and sectors you should focus your intervention on.

First steps in a multiple intervention program

  • Planning a multiple intervention program begins with a socio-ecological assessment .
  • A socio-ecological assessment has some similarities to environmental scans, situational and capacity assessments and needs assessments.
  • Socio-ecological thinking helps uncover the layers of factors that may be contributing to or causing the health issue. Refer to Example 4 - What makes Canadians healthy or unhealthy?
  • Socio-ecological assessment can identify strengths and abilities that will contribute to solutions for the health issue in question

Overview of conducting a socio-ecological assessment

Socio-ecological assessments recognize that the interaction between individual behaviour and social environments combines with many other factors to shape health. Socio-ecological assessments are always a work in progress, open to change and updating, so it’s important to begin the assessment in a systematic way, documenting everything you do and find. Then, as more resources and time become available, you can add to the assessment efficiently and systematically.

Keep these questions in mind as you work through the steps to creating a socio-ecological assessment, outlined in the next section:

  • What factors or determinants may be contributing to or causing the problem?
  • How are they linked?
  • How do different sectors and levels of the system see the issue?
  • What are local priorities, needs and resources? What structures are there for implementing change?
  • What system levels, partners, sectors and jurisdictions should we think about involving in planning?

For more information please refer to Example 7 - A Socio-Ecological Assesment of Fall Prevention

While you’re conducting your socio-ecological assessment, look for the influence of the determinants of health and for connections among the factors you identify. Use research on social change to identify at which levels in the social system you should aim your changes and remember, a multiple intervention program targets change at more than one system level.

Last Updated on Sunday, 03 May 2009 07:39