WHEP Scholar Ashlyn Byers
Drexel University College of Medicine, Class of 2023
In 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) established a Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CDSH) to promote health equity between and within countries. After several years, the WHO CDSH published the report, Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity Through Action on the Social Determinants of Health. The report defines the social determinants of health as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.” The organization asserts, “these circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources at global, national, and local levels.”1 The circumstances are associated with health inequities, based on race, gender, sexual orientation, geographic location, and socioeconomic status. In the United States, these inequities are most often associated with chronic disease and life expectancy.2 However, health inequities occur in all medical specialties, including infertility prevention and treatment. When considering the cost of treatment, access of care, and differences in success rates, the social determinants of health have profound effects on infertile individuals.3 Therefore, it is important to consider how financial, educational, racial, and social disparities affect access and outcomes of fertility treatment in the United States.
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