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Social Determinants of Health – SPHA 556

Health, both individually and collectively, is socially produced. Social determinants of health considers why health differences matter on ethical and practical grounds, and how can we act to effectively intervene on these differences.

A variety of personal, social and economic factors influence health status. SPHA 556 Social Determinants of Health (MHA Year One) provides an introduction to some of the foundational thinking that has given rise to the concept of population health. Students will be able to identify the key social determinants of health and a selection of frameworks that link these to the population’s health and to articulate case examples of policy initiatives and programs either proposed or currently in place to address issues in population health.

Read about other MHA courses our students are taking

Instructor Profile

Dr. Amanda Slaunwhite

Assistant Professor, SPPH
Senior Scientist, BCCDC

Dr. Slaunwhite leads a program of research that uses administrative health data and community-based participatory methods in the areas of peer support, substance use and community reintegration after release from provincial and federal correctional institutions. Dr. Slaunwhite is the scientific lead of the BC Provincial Overdose Cohort. The Cohort is a collection of linked administrative data, including data from BC Emergency Health Services and BC Coroner’s Service, on fatal and non-fatal overdose events in BC since 2015. Dr. Slaunwhite is the co-principal investigator of the UBC Research Excellence Cluster in Transformative Health and Justice (2020-2023).
Dr. Slaunwhite has expertise in overdose, substance use, addiction and mental health. She has eight years’ experience working with administrative health data in BC and the US on topics related to overdose, substance use and mental health. She holds a PhD in geography from the University of Victoria (2015) and master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Queen’s University (2009). Dr. Slaunwhite completed post-doctoral training in child and youth mental health in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Brunswick (2015-2017) and is a former assistant professor in Addictions Studies at the University of Alaska Anchorage (2017-2018). She has worked in applied health research and policy roles at the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR) and Parliamentary Information and Research Service (Parliament of Canada).


Dr. Anita Minh

Adjunct Professor, SPPH

Postdoctoral Researcher, UBC