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determinants of health

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Well, since the list of socioeconomic determinants can be pretty long, you have lots of options!


The Ottawa Charter of Health IDs the prerequisites for health as peace, food, shelter, education, employment, income, equity, social justice, a stable ecosystem and sustainable resources. And it's amazing how few people have all of these.


Since income is the biggest determinant of health, working with low-income people would cover most of the above of course...there are groups such as Elizabeth Fry Society which helps women in trouble with the law who cannot afford legal protection (often women working as prostitutes but also many other kinds of women), or you could work with many different populations such as people with mental health problems, people living with addictions, people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, disadvantaged youth or kids, the elderly, people with HIV/AIDS. There are meal programs for people who cannot afford to buy their own food every day, elderly or health-challenged individuals who are living as shut-ins and may need some company and companionship, emergency or homeless shelters, breakfast programs for kids, tutoring, or Big Brothers and Sisters is a great one!


Think about what kind of people you're most interested in spending time with, many people love kids or the elderly or have a soft spot for people living on the streets. Would you rather be a part of a short-term survival solution (like I do, working with the Salvation Army meal truck) or a long-term approach (mainly educational opportunities, like Big Brothers or teaching life skills classes to prisoners or people getting back on their feet)?


There are so many wonderful opportunities out there, give something a chance and you might find something you really love doing! Whatever you choose, enjoy it to the fullest and learn everything you can from it :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Socioeconomic: Some communities don't have access to health care because they are impoverished and lack resources like money, education, and transportation.


Cultural: It has more to do with certain mindsets. For example, some African Americans don't trust the medical establishment because of things like the Tuskegee Experiment. Some religious cults say they would rather pray than seek medical help.

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what type of volunteer activities would help me get first hand experience with the socioeconomic and cultural determinants of health?


I've been interested in this as well for the past few years and have been doing a lot of volunteering with the NDP.


The thesis of the social determinants of health is basically that economic policy and health policy are the same thing. In other words, inequality in society makes those on who are poorer more sick, and sicker sooner in life.


As such, if you want to address the social determinants of health your goal should be make society more equal or equitable. I think the NDP is the best platform do to this.


Watch Part 1 ("In Sickness and in Wealth") of a documentary called "Unnatural Causes". You should be able to find it at your university's movie library.


If you (or anyone) are interested in joining youth NDP clubs and live in Toronto, PM me and i'll send you info.


EDIT: There's also a Toronto-based organization called Health for All that does a lot of good work. It's mostly made up of doctors, med students, nurses, health policy people, etc. So maybe check out one of their meetings.

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