Written by Laura Nissen, Ph.D., LMSW

Written by Laura Nissen, Ph.D., LMSW

Diving Deeper in the Social Determinants of Health and Health Futures Right Now

What is health?   Health is comprised of not just “the state” of being healthy as an individual person,  but reflects the ecosystem (environmental, social, political, economic and more) in which people live their lives.  The advantage of inviting social workers into health futures spaces is that we possess a systemic view of how health and their determinants operate. Using a futures lens explicitly helps our minds stretch to consider what might be “around the corner” from where we are now in terms of health, health promotion, health risk factors and more in the years to come. 

Some things to consider:

  • How will covid-19 change the world around us? What is it teaching us about our infrastructure, our ethics of care, our ability to be ethical and equitable in protecting and reinforcing health for al?
  • How will the future of policing (including the dual possibilities of increasing focus on abolition while simultaneous increases in technological surveillance) impact the future of health?
  • How will efforts (both successes and setbacks) to become more anti-racist and improve both health and longevity in Communities of Color evolve in the future?
  • How will virtual and other extended reality innovations impact the future of health and well-being?
  • How will artificial and machine intelligence (and its strengths and dangers) play a role in how our understanding of health, health management and health promotion be understood? How will this impact the most vulnerable in our society?
  • How will efforts to eliminate structural racism be both accelerated and complicated by evolving situations in geopolitical shifts, climate change along with technological proliferation and economic instability in the world?

These are just a few of the ideas contained in this recent scan of the social determinants of health literature.  This evolving curated annotated bibliography is intended to serve as a spark to expand and deepen your creative and moral imagination about what “the future of health” and “the future of the social determinants of health” might mean.   Come explore at this link!