Breaking Through on the Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities

An Approach to Message Translation

There are rich resources–decades of research and scholarly articles–documenting health disparities in America and the importance of social determinants of health. But how can we make sure that these findings are well-understood by policy-makers?

One objective of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America was to engage public and private sector decision makers. The challenge was how to “translate” the wide-ranging, highly-specific and technical information about social determinants and health disparities into language that would resonate with a diverse group of leaders.

This issue brief explains how the Commission framed these issues, describes the research-based process used to develop messages and shares messages for broader use.

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