An Ounce of Prevention Is Still Worth a Pound of Cure, Especially in the Time of COVID-19

Karen A. Hacker, MD, MPH; Peter A. Briss, MD, MPH


Prev Chronic Dis. 2021;18(1):e03 

In This Article

Relationships to the Social Determinants of Health

Issues such as limited economic opportunity, structural racism, and inadequate education have contributed to major health disparities in the United States, which the COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified.[13] In turn, these issues drive current immediate challenges, including access to primary care, insurance coverage, paid sick leave, good housing conditions, and others.

These conditions, referred to as social determinants of health, exist where we are born, live, learn, work, and play and have a profound effect on health and our ability to narrow existing health disparities and those related to COVID-19. We will need to address these conditions to effectively provide opportunities to populations that have been historically disadvantaged. As we encourage people to reconnect to care and prevention, it will be imperative to address these social determinants of health. This work will require multiple partnerships within communities to reach out to people and rebuild trust in a safe and supportive health care system.