Practical Resources for Addressing Social Determinants of Health

An Interview With AAFP About The EveryONE Project

Interviewer: Laurie Scudder, DNP, NP; Interviewee: Julie K. Wood, MD, MPH, FAAFP


October 08, 2018

Editorial Collaboration

Medscape &

There is growing recognition of the role that social determinants of health (SDoH) play as the primary driver of health inequalities affecting our patients, families, and communities (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The social determinants of health. Source: American Academy of Family Physicians EveryONE Project™ Neighborhood Navigator. Accessed October 4, 2018.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has taken a major step toward providing family physicians and other healthcare professionals with practical, clinically relevant tools to take action and confront health disparities head on. The EveryONE Project™ focuses on providing education and resources that support physicians in advocating for health equity, promoting workforce diversity, and collaborating with other disciplines and organizations to advance health equity.

Medscape spoke with Julie K. Wood, MD, MPH, FAAFP, Senior Vice President, Health of the Public and Interprofessional Activities at AAFP, about the project, the concerns and evidence that underpin its creation, and the resources it provides.

Medscape: What was the impetus for development of The EveryONE Project? Was it a grassroots effort, or did it begin at AAFP?

Julie K. Wood, MD, MPH, FAAFP

Wood: It was both. The AAFP Board of Directors wanted to further expand the work we were already doing in this area, prioritizing our efforts on diversity, health equity, and social determinants of health. We also had several resolutions that had come from our Congress of Delegates and our National Conference of Constituency Leaders. So we had some grassroots interest in AAFP, and we also had a strong push and request from leadership to do more.

Medscape: The first resource offered by the project was a screening tool kit. Can you describe the development of that tool? Was it piloted with your members?

Wood: The request that AAFP provide an SDoH tool kit for our members originated with a resolution from our congress. To inform that process, we conducted an initial survey of the membership to determine what our members needed and wanted. As you can see from the results of our survey (Figure 2), we found a large number of family physicians who were attempting to address SDoH but felt very disempowered when it came to what to do. These physicians very much appreciated, understood, and supported the need to screen for SDoH, but felt that they needed more resources to be able to do it effectively.

There is a huge time crunch, and we didn't want this to be perceived as yet another thing adding to the already heavy load in primary care. Rather, recognizing that family physicians understand that this is an important need for our patients and our communities, we wanted to provide them practical tools to effectively screen for and address SDoH within the team-based care environment.

Figure 2. Social determinants of health: survey results regarding family physicians' role. Source: American Academy of Family Physicians. Social Determinants of Health (SDoH): Family Physicians' Role. Accessed October 4, 2018.

In addition to the survey, we conducted extensive research. The staff at the academy looked at what was already out there and found some great tools, but none of them were specific to the broad scope applicable in primary care. We used some elements that already existed in the public domain, and we put it together drawing from the resources of many organizations whose important work and generous support advance the science and practice of social needs screening. Expert staff and a working group of members helped with the writing and piloting.


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