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Rural Health Information Hub

Module 2: Evidence-Based and Promising Approaches for Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Rural Communities

Rural communities are implementing programs to address social determinants of health (SDOH) in an effort to improve their residents' health and well-being. This toolkit identifies models and approaches for addressing SDOH in rural communities. SDOH are complex and may differ from place to place. No single approach is right for every community. Many communities will need to implement multiple models to address SDOH, as well as adapt these models to fit their unique culture and needs.

To learn how to implement and adapt rural community health programs, see Developing a Rural Community Health Program in the Rural Community Health Toolkit.

Promising approaches and models for addressing SDOH may target specific social determinants, such as food access, housing, the built environment, and healthcare access, among others. In addition, some programs may address several SDOH at once. These approaches and models often include cross-sectoral partnerships and collaboration, community- and capacity-building, a focus on reducing health disparities, and strategies that are tailored to population characteristics and demographics.

This module identifies 22 evidence-based or promising approaches for addressing SDOH, organized into 5 categories based on the Healthy People 2030 SDOH organizing framework. Within each key area, we describe promising approaches and evidence-based models being implemented in rural communities. These 5 areas are interdisciplinary, cutting across multiple sectors; therefore, some approaches may cross multiple areas. For example, promising approaches that focus on improving economic stability may also improve the social and community context for rural residents.

In this module: