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Health Management in Commercially Insured Populations

It Is Time to Include Social Determinants of Health

Sherman, Bruce W. MD; Stiehl, Emily PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2018 - Volume 60 - Issue 8 - p 688–692
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001344

Employers have been challenged by low employee participation rates in health-related programs, and have often relied on incentives and other engagement approaches to overcome this difficulty. One of the apparent barriers to employee engagement in health-related activities is represented by social determinants of health. According to some, these factors comprise as much as 40% of an individual's health status, and while they have been the focus of attention in the public health domain, their role in the workplace has not been broadly recognized. In this manuscript, we provide an overview of the significance of social determinants of health in the workplace, addressing their influence on employee involvement in health-related offerings. We also acknowledge the unique role of the workplace as both a physical and social determinant of worker health.

Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, Conduent HR Services, Cleveland, OH (Dr Sherman), Health Policy and Administration, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Stiehl).

Address correspondence to: Bruce W. Sherman, MD, 117 Kemp Rd. E, Greensboro, NC 27410 (

Funding Source: None.

Conflicts of Interest: B. Sherman: Consulting fees: ApolloEndo; Consultancy: Amgen; Employment: Conduent HR Services; Grants: Pfizer, Pending grants: AbbVie; Speaker bureaus: AbbVie, Merck, E. Stiehl: None declared.

Copyright © 2018 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine