How to Embed the Social Determinants of Health into Curriculum
- Program: Bay Path University
- Location: Northampton, MA
- Institution Type: Private
- URL: https://www.baypath.edu/academics/graduate-programs/physician-assistant-studies-ms/
Unique Characteristics of Bay Path University’s PA Program
At the Bay Path University PA program, we have embedded the social determinants of health (SDOH) into our curriculum. Each one-hour module is spent educating students on how SDOH impact health in the context of the specific module. For example, in pulmonary, we discuss how asthma is a disease that impacts a higher proportion of people of color than others in the general population. We talk about the importance of understanding how SDOH impact health, and more importantly, we talk about “actionables.” An actionable is an activity that PAs can do to potentially address these issues.
Our Program’s Impact
Embedding the SDOH into the curriculum is not labor-intensive or difficult. The curriculum we have created can be shared with other programs and can easily be incorporated into any curriculum. Programs will need one extra hour per module to embed this program. You can download this curriculum and additional SDOH resources from the Teacher Toolkit in the Digital Learning Hub.
Our Surrounding Community
Bay Path University is located in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, next door to Springfield, Massachusetts, which has some of the worst health care statistics in the state. I work as a clinician at an underserved community health center.
A Fun Fact About Western Massachusetts
Western Massachusetts is known for its role in the Underground Railroad and home to W.E.B Du Bois and Sojourner Truth, who were both important in the abolitionist movement. One of the founding members of the NAACP, Du Bois was an African American scholar and activist who greatly impacted the lives of African Americans in the early 1900s. Truth was a freed slave who was also instrumental through her scholarship and oration on anti-slavery.
This article is part of PAEA’s Program Showcases, which also includes webinars. Learn more about the series here.