Social determinants of health are the external conditions in an individual’s life that play a role in their health, such as cultural, political or economic conditions that affect a person’s well-being. By examining those, researchers can understand ways in which different populations are affected.

The UAB Obesity Health Disparities Research Center (OHDRC) has released a free resource toolkit to provide a central collection of information on the social determinants of health. The toolkit is a learning module housed in UAB’s Canvas platform and accessible with a Blazer ID. It also can be accessed at

The toolkit includes overviews of many different social determinants of health that relate to obesity and chronic health conditions — particularly cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Each overview features the validated instruments used to measure the concepts, a brief description summary, links to research that have used the instruments and cross-references to other social determinants of health related to that topic.

Each social determinant of health — segregation, social support, stress, skin color, etc. — has its own module. Aside from the links to validated instruments and summary of the concepts, users also can find the primary documents and cross-references to other related social determinants of health within the modules.

Social Determinants of Health Toolkit