Addressing Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) are socioeconomic factors that affect the health of individuals and communities and drive inequities in health based on where we live, the state of our environment, our income and education level, our socioeconomic status and even our relationships with friends and family.

The importance of addressing SDOH can be seen in this month’s infographic regarding High School graduation rates in terms of race/ ethnicity.


According to the infographic, the lowest percentage of on-time high school graduation rate was seen from those identified as American Indian or Alaska Native non-Hispanic followed by Black non-Hispanic and then Hispanic. The fact there is a 10% jump from the Hispanic race/ethnicity group to the White non-Hispanic group shows inequity is a real and existing issue.



The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) is committed to addressing SDOH  through community engagement and empowerment, efforts to decrease stigma and discrimination, support for wellness and recovery,  and building culturally responsive behavioral health care services.    


Source:  The Henry Kaiser Family Foundation

Some of ODE’s programs include workforce development and training, Lived Experience Academy, Health Ambassador Program and the Health Equity Initiatives (HEI’s). Specifically HEI’s are collaborating with County staff, community partners, and clients to influence organizational-level changes and improve access to care for marginalized cultural and ethnic communities throughout San Mateo County.  A few examples of activities and efforts from the HEI’s include; the Filipino Mental Health Initiative’s  MOU with the Philipine Consulate General to provide staff with annual mental health and substance use training; the Chinese Health Initiative contribution to the creation of North East Medical Services’ mental health program in Daly City as well as establishing a screening and referral system within the largest health care plan in the county; the Pride Initiative advocated for culturally responsive services by playing a key role in the development of the proposal for San Mateo County’s first Pride Center. The Pacific Islander Initiative co-sponsored the first ever Pacific Islander Health Needs Assessment that will drive relevant initiatives to improve the health of Pacific Islander in San Mateo County.  HEI’s have developed policies, trainings, educational materials and conducted outreach and awareness events to provide information in appropriate languages and with cultural sensitivity, which help remove language, cultural and stigma barriers to access to care.

To learn more about what HEI’s view the recent impact report, Health Equity Initiatives: A Ten-Year Review

For more info about ODE’s programs visit: