Presenter: Dr. Elisabeth Root
Topic: A significant body of literature demonstrates that the social determinants of health are responsible for significant health inequities within and across communities. But the SDOH are a complex and multidimensional concept which must consider the multitude of social, economic, and structural factors which impact people’s daily lives and the ways in which these factors interact in time and space. Studies of substance use, and opioid misuse in particular, tend to focus on proximal factors that impact substance use, treatment, and recovery (e.g., age, sex, and individual behaviors). Research which considers more distal factors (e.g., community-level living and working conditions) is much less common and not well developed. In this seminar, we will explore some of the research conducted as part of the HEALing Communities Study (HCS) which explores the impact of community-level social determinants of health on a variety of opioid-related outcomes. Throughout the seminar we will discuss why an understanding of community structure is important for planning and evaluating the impact of substance use programs and policies.
Elisabeth D. Root is a Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Geography and Division of Epidemiology at OSU. She is also a faculty affiliate of the Translational Data Analytics Institute and serves on the leadership team for the Institute for Population Research. Dr. Root is a health geographer whose research focuses on the social determinants of health and evaluating “place-based” health interventions using geospatial analysis, Geographic Information Systems, and large administrative data sources. Dr. Root actively engages with local and state government – including the Ohio Departments of Health, Medicaid, and Mental Health and Addiction Services – to explore ways in which state data resources can most effectively be used to inform policy and target health programs. Dr. Root also has active research projects in the U.S., Honduras, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines funded through the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, USAID, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.