About the Social Determinants of Health Collections
PhenX Measures for Social Determinants of Health Collections
In 2018, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) launched the PhenX Measures for Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) Project with the goal of making it easier for investigators to compare results and to combine data from different studies. As a result of this project, 19 protocols relevant to SDoH were selected by the first PhenX SDoH Working Group. In 2022, NIMHD launched an expansion project to add an additional 15 new protocols to the two SDoH Specialty collections.
The Core collection includes 16 measurement protocols that are deemed relevant for all research projects for collection of comparable data on social determinants of health across studies. These protocols are designed to create common data elements for cross-study analyses that compare or combine data from different studies. The Core collection includes protocols identified by the first SDoH Working Group in 2020 and protocols that were already in the PhenX Toolkit. The Core collection includes Ethnicity and Race, Age, Gender Identity, and Annual Family Income, as well as English Proficiency, Occupational Prestige and Access to Health Services.
To assist researchers in studying SDoH, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and NIH partners encourages the use of the 16 measurement protocols in the PhenX SDoH Core Collection for all primary data collection (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-MD-21-003.html). The goal of the SDoH Core Collection is to make it easier for investigators to compare results and to combine data from different studies to improve human health. The SDoH Core Collection is also in the COVID-19 Collection.
Specialty Collections: Individual and Structural
The SDoH measurement protocols have been organized into two Specialty collections, Individual and Structural, that reflect the levels of influence in the NIHMD Research Framework. The Individual SDoH Specialty collection includes protocols where participants are reporting their experience in areas such as the physical/built environment, sociocultural environment, and healthcare. The Structural SDoH Specialty collection includes protocols to describe and estimate factors linked to a specific geographic area such as a state, county, or a census-defined unit, such as census tract or ZIP Code. It includes both societal and community levels of influence. These two Specialty collections are complementary to the Core collection and will allow more nuanced investigations of how SDoH influences health.