Background: Up to 60% of preventable mortality is attributable to social determinants of health (SDOH), yet training on SDOH competencies is not widely implemented in residency. The objective of this study was to assess internal and family medicine residents' competence at identifying and addressing SDOH. Methods: Residents' perceived competence at identifying, discussing, and addressing SDOH in outpatient settings was assessed using a single questionnaire administered in March 2017. In this cross-sectional analysis, bivariate associations of resident characteristics with the following outcomes were examined: identifying, discussing, and addressing patients' challenges related to SDOH through referrals. Results: The survey was completed by 129 (84%) residents. Twenty residents (16%) reported an annual income of less than $50,000 during childhood. Overall, 108 residents (84%) reported previous SDOH training. Two-Thirds had outpatient practices in Veterans Affairs or safety-net clinics. Thirty-nine (30%) intended to pursue a career in primary care. The following numbers of residents reported high levels of competence for performing these outcomes: identifying patients' challenges related to SDOH: 37 (29%); discussing them with patients: 18 (14%); and addressing these challenges through referrals to internal and external resources: 13 (10%) and 11 (9%), respectively. Factors associated with higher competence included older age, lower childhood household income, prior education about SDOH, primary practice site and intention to practice primary care. Conclusions: Most residents had previous SDOH training, yet only a small proportion of residents reported being highly competent at identifying or addressing SDOH. Providing opportunities for practical training may be a key component in preparing medical residents to identify and address SDOH effectively in outpatient practice.
- Graduate medical education
- Primary care
- Social determinants of health
ASJC Scopus subject areas