Icon #9: “Social Determinants”



How does one iconize the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)?

Good question. SDOH is such a massive and complex concept, I’m honestly at a loss here! Let’s start with a definition of SDOH:

The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities – the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries. – WHO

As you can see, there are a lot of upstream factors that SDOH refers to, but illustrating this is no easy task. I thought of the word “upstream” or “pump handle” as potential concepts to play off of, but as a stand alone visual I struggled to find something that clearly conveyed SDOH in a single icon. So, I figure the letters “S-D-O-H” are a starting point. To the average person this may not make too much sense, but the concept in general is not that commonly understood to begin with. What do you think?

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