How engaging with the social determinants of health can help us deliver more compassionate care

Dr. Gary Bloch

Award: Phoenix Project Fellowship (2018)

Co-Sponsor: St. Michael’s Hospital

  • Equity
  • Patient/family/caregiver voices

Physicians can help address the social determinants of health—an overlooked but essential part of providing effective and person-centred health care. This approach depends greatly on whether physicians can truly hear and understand our patients’ life stories and whether we’re comfortable engaging with the health-related challenges these stories reveal. 

Gary’s research helps health providers, teams, and institutions engage with patients’ stories so they can understand, relate to, and work with the complex social contexts in which people live. In particular, his work brings an academic lens to current social interventions and Ontario-based attempts to embed equity into the norms of primary care practice. 

This project had several objectives:

  • Conduct a literature review, environmental scan, and qualitative study of experts, and disseminate the results in academic publications
  • Create a formal network of partners who can help develop and establish this work locally, nationally, and internationally
  • Develop a sustainable structure to promote a shift in the norms of primary care