Assessment and Evaluation in Social Determinants of Health Education: a National Survey of US Medical Schools and Physician Assistant Programs

Mobola Campbell*, Marissa Liveris, Amy E. Caruso Brown, Anna Leila Williams, Wivine Ngongo, Stephen Persell, Karen A. Mangold, Mark D. Adler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Social determinants of health (SDOH) curricular content in medical schools and physician assistant programs are increasing. However, there is little understanding of current practice in SDOH learner assessment and program evaluation, or what the best practices are. Objective: Our study aim was to describe the current landscape of assessment and evaluation at US medical schools and physician assistant programs as a first step in developing best practices in SDOH education. Design: We conducted a national survey of SDOH educators from July to December 2020. The 55-item online survey covered learner assessment methods, program evaluation, faculty training, and barriers to effective assessment and evaluation. Results were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Participants: One hundred six SDOH educators representing 26% of medical schools and 23% of PA programs in the USA completed the survey. Key Results: Most programs reported using a variety of SDOH learner assessment methods. Faculty and self were the most common assessors of learners’ SDOH knowledge, attitudes, and skills. Common barriers to effective learner assessment were lack of agreement on “SDOH competency” and lack of faculty training in assessment. Programs reported using evaluation results to refine curricular content, identify the need for new content, and improve assessment strategies. Conclusions: We identified a heterogeneity of SDOH assessment and evaluation practices among programs, as well as gaps and barriers in their educational practices. Specific guidance from accrediting bodies and professional organizations and agreement on SDOH competency as well as providing faculty with time, resources, and training will improve assessment and evaluation practice and ensure SDOH education is effective for students, patients, and communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2180-2186
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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