April 5, 2010
It has been a little over a year since we met at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s
(CDC’s) external consultation: Addressing Social Determinants of Health: Accelerating the
Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB. During this time, CDC’s
commitment to the charge made at this consultation has remained steadfast, and progress has
been made to implement and integrate strategies to address social determinants of health (SDH)
as they relate to our focus diseases.
Over the last year, conversations between CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral
Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) and our colleagues have moved from the
conference rooms to the workplace to actively address the complex social and economic
conditions that drive these diseases. Together, we are transforming the way we do our work by
taking a closer look at the SDH that we have known about and addressed on some level for a
long time. However, as we look again, we understand more clearly that these SDH are not
tangential to exposure risks and risky behaviors, but are connected to them and may play an even
greater role than thought previously in putting a person at risk for the diseases we work to
prevent. In fact, often times they are the precursors to risky behaviors.
Your participation, intellectual capital, and continued partnership are moving this work forward
and bringing it to the forefront of our national and international efforts to reduce the toll of these
diseases and protect the health of all people. Much has been accomplished and many activities
are ongoing. I would like to share a few of these with you now, from the framework being
established to the actual development and implementation of programs and activities.
• Dear Colleague Letter to promote partner engagement and five-page summary of the
consultation distributed January 2009.
• Discussion of social determinants of health posted to the NCHHSTP blog December