PhenX Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Assessments Collection

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The PhenX Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Assessments Collection, available in the PhenX Toolkit, contains 19 protocols added in 2020 and 15 protocols added in 2022 to help measure upstream factors that shape behaviors and health outcomes. The SDOH assessments collection enables researchers to develop, disseminate, and use standard data collection measures.

Researchers are encouraged to use this collection to examine the role of SDOH and factors related to health inequities that enable effective interventions to reduce health disparities.

About the Collection

The SDOH Collection is arranged as a core collection and two specialty collections, individual and structural.

Core Collection

The Core Collection includes 16 measurement protocols designed to create common data elements for cross-study analyses that compare or combine data from different studies that includes elements such as:

  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Gender Identity
  • Annual Family Income
  • English Proficiency
  • Occupational Prestige
  • Access to Health Services

Specialty Collections

The Individual SDOH Specialty Collection includes 22 measurement protocols for use in research where information is being collected from and about people answering for themselves or their family at the individual level of the socioecological framework.

These include elements such as:

  • Affordability of accessing dental care or prescriptions
  • Discrimination in health care
  • Family history of incarceration
  • Health care communications
  • Housing instability due to affordability
  • Internet access
  • Religious behaviors and congregational support

The Structural SDOH Specialty Collection includes 15 measurement protocols at the structural or community level of the socioecological framework.

A few of these elements include:

  • Minimum wage
  • Neighborhood walking and biking environment
  • Physical activity-neighborhood environment
  • Residential concentrations of income
  • Water access and sanitation

These two specialty collections are complementary to the core collection and allow more nuanced investigations of how SDOH influences health.

Protocol Collection Features

Widespread adoption of the new collection of standard measures of SDOH assessment in behavioral, clinical, and translational research facilitates:

  • Aggregation of information from different studies over time, expanding the scope of research and collaboration among researchers.
  • Ability to validate study findings by replicating data and aiding in comparisons.
  • Capability to combine study samples, which can provide greater statistical power.
  • Ability to conduct cross-study analysis to increase the impact of individual studies.

About the PhenX Toolkit

The PhenX Toolkit (consensus measures for Phenotypes and eXposures) provides recommended standard data collection protocols for conducting biomedical research.

The protocols are selected by working groups of domain experts using a consensus process, which includes the scientific community.

The Toolkit provides detailed protocols for collecting data and tools to help investigators incorporate these protocols into their studies. Using protocols from the PhenX Toolkit facilitates cross-study analysis, potentially increasing the scientific impact of individual studies.

Page updated December 20, 2022