Social Determinants of Health illustration

Social Determinants of Health Screening

It is estimated that nearly 10-20% of someone’s health is modifiable, while the other 80-90% is a product of their environment collectively termed as the social determinants of health (SDH).[1] The World Health Organization (WHO) defines SDH as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels.”[2]

Access to resources such as a safe living environment, food, health literacy, insurance status and many other factors drive health care outcomes and there are certain vulnerable populations who have additional barriers to care where these social determinants result in worse health care outcomes.

This project's goal is to screen patients for such SDH and barriers to care and to help them overcome those barriers with student-led interventions.

opioid task force

Chronic Opioid Validation Project

The Opioid Validation project involves working with a team of volunteers to check patient charts and see if there are any factors that would lead the physician to stop prescribing an opioid. The checklist will include urine tox results, pain assessments, other providers prescribing them opioids, etc. to be considered. The volunteer will record and share data with the patient's provider.

cancer screening

Quality Improvement Pre-Visit Planning

Done in collaboration with UConn's Center for Population Health, the goal of this project is to improve timely preventative health screening for patients. A team of volunteers review patient charts to determine if there are any factors that indicate a subpar level of quality in care, including missed preventative health screenings. Quality measures focus on colon, breast, and cervical cancer screenings.


Readmission Review

Hospital readmissions are costly and can indicate a breakdown in quality of care. The goal of this project is to understand specific factors and causes of readmission. Volunteers complete a thorough chart review of readmitted patients to gather pertinent clinical information relative to patient readmissions. Students also participate in a monthly meeting with an interdisciplinary readmission workgroup to review trends and discuss strategies to improve care delivery.


Lung Cancer Screening

The Lung Cancer Screening Project aims to improve the rate of lung cancer screening in our community by contacting patients with an incomplete order for an LDCT and asking each patient to identify the barriers that prevented them from completing their lung cancer screening. Our volunteers contact patients to a) identify the reason they did not complete the LDCT and b) inquire if they would like our volunteers to call the radiology department with them to assist with logistics. If socioeconomic barriers are identified that prevent the completion of their lung cancer screening, the patients are provided with appropriate resources.

Past projects have included contact tracing, myChart enrollments, and COVID-19 follow-up calls.


[1] Bradley, E. H., B. R. Elkins, J. Herrin, and B. Elbel. 2011. Health and social services expenditures: Associations with health outcomes. BMJ Quality and Safety in Health Care20(10):826-831.

[2] WHO (World Health Organization). 2012. What are the social determinants of health? (Accessed June 8, 2017).



Cleveland Clinic. (2015) Low-Dose CT Screening for Lung Cancer Now Covered by Medicare [Photograph]. Consult QD.