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You are here: Home Modules Module 1: Conduct a Socio-Ecological Assesment Conducting a socio-ecological assessment
Conducting a socio-ecological assessment Print E-mail
Module 1: Conduct a Socio-Ecological Assesment

Clarify your assumptions about how health disparities are created and maintained

Begin your assessment by considering the determinants of health and their interconnections.

There are many models and frameworks for representing and understanding human health. Different models are based on different assumptions about the natural and social world, suggest different interventions, focus on different outcomes and ask different research and evaluation questions. Multiple intervention programs take what’s called the “population health” approach. For more information refer to Population Health Institute and Box D - Population Health Approach and Template and Box E - Population Health Indicators.

Choose measures to identify your target group

Your target group may be the general population or a smaller group within it, defined by characteristics such as gender, age, chronic illness or location. “Health status indicators” such as rates of death, illness or hospitalization, are one way to define the population you want to work with. Refer to Box E - Population Health Indicators.

Identify the determinants of health that have created the health issue you’re tackling

The determinants of health include the social, economic and physical environment; early childhood development; personal health practices; individual capacity and coping skills; human biology; and health services. All shape human health, but some particular combination will have affected the health issue you’re dealing with. For further information on determinants refer to the following Boxes Below:

Identify potential health disparities

The most important factor associated with health disparities is socioeconomic status. Every step up or down the socioeconomic ladder makes a difference in level of risk, health status, incidence of disease and mortality. Aboriginal status, gender and geographic location are also associated with health disparities. Public health interventions that focus on the needs of disadvantaged individuals, groups and communities can help mitigate the impact of some of these determinants of health to reduce the unequal burden of poor health. For additional information on health disparities and who bears the burden of illness refer below to: Box K – What are health disparities? and Box L –Who bears the burden of ill-health?

Last Updated on Sunday, 03 May 2009 07:42