Understanding how to address social determinants of health with Laura Gottlieb

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These days, we hear about social determinants of health constantly – more of us are screening for social needs in our clinics and payers are searching for effective ways to address them as an avenue to improve outcomes and ideally reduce costs. Dr. Laura Gottlieb, a family physician and researcher at UCSF joins us today to talk about her research, which focuses on evaluating interventions to identify and address social factors in health care.

You can find many of Dr. Gottlieb’s publications here, as well as the Health Affairs blog post by Drs. Toyin Ajayi and Iyah Romm mentioned in the podcast. You can also use this link to the SIREN website to find more resources on the intersection of social and medical care.

A little more about our guest: Dr. Gottlieb is Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and director of the Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network (SIREN). Dr. Gottlieb’s current research focuses on evaluating interventions that identify and address social factors as part of health care delivery. These interventions include volunteer-powered social services Help Desks, payment reforms that support social programs, and other efforts that support responding to patients’ social needs in medical practice, like re-designing electronic medical records to incorporate social determinants data. Dr. Gottlieb also is an Associate Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Evidence for Action National Program and was a co-founder of HealthBegins, a non-profit organization providing education, consulting, networking, and technology services to health care providers interested in joining the effort to move medicine upstream. Prior to her current appointment, Dr. Gottlieb was a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at UCSF/UCB. She completed her MD at Harvard Medical School and both her MPH and residency training at the University of Washington.

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This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Photo courtesy of Dr. Gottlieb.