Public Health Guidance for Research Award Proposals

Social Determinants of Health

Proposals must incorporate a discussion of Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), which refers to the complex, integrated, and overlapping social structures and economic systems that include social and physical environments and health services. These determinants are shaped by the level of income, power, and resources at global, national, and local levels. Projects that work across sectors and in partnership with communities to study, measure, or evaluate the SDOH and a community’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies are preferred. Factors may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Economic Stability: Such as employment, income, wealth, food security, and housing stability.
  • Education: Inclusive of all levels, as well as language and literacy.
  • Healthcare Access: Includes access to insurance, primary care, and health literacy.
  • Neighborhood and Environment: Such as access to healthy foods, levels of crime and violence, environmental and climate conditions, housing quality and availability, and access to the internet.
  • Social and Community Context: Inclusive of other characteristics within which people live, learn, work, and play. Examples include discrimination, civic participation, incarceration, social cohesion, and workplace conditions.

Health Equity Goals and Science

Health equity is when everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Achieving this requires addressing and understanding the impact of health disparities (i.e., differences in health outcomes that are linked to social, economic, geographic, and/or environmental disadvantage) and health inequities (i.e., disparities in health that stem from unjust, systemic policies, and practices) on health outcomes. As an extension of SDOH, we recommend projects have a health equity goal and incorporate elements of health equity science within an emergency preparedness or response context. This may include the following areas:

  • Measuring Disparities: Measuring or documenting one or more health disparities (in absolute and/or relative terms) or their change over time.
  • Measuring Inequities: Measuring or documenting one or more health inequities (in absolute and/or relative terms) or their change over time.
  • Methods to Improve Health Equity Research and Practice: For example, developing methods, instruments, or other innovations to advance progress towards health equity or improve measurement of social determinants of health.

Public Health Tools and Resources

A hallmark of rapid response disaster science is the ability to leverage and adapt existing public health tools and resources. This supports translation efforts as well as identifies common barriers to translating research and other scientific endeavors into practice and policy. Thus, projects that incorporate existing public health tools and resources will be preferred. See examples of public health tools and resources here.