Having a disabling condition should not imply that a person is unhealthy. A long-held
challenge is the understanding of public health circumstances, beyond the disabling condition itself, that influence health and quality of life.
Having an understanding of social determinants of health can provide a foundation and framework for understanding health disparities that are faced by people with disabilities.14 Social determinants of health can be described as social, economic and political systems that can intersect and overlap and contribute to disparities in health care
and access to education, employment and of other aspects of a life.14,16 These determinants can be categorized as socioeconomic, psychosocial, and community and societal.14
Understanding Disability and Health
There are many factors that determine or influence one’s health. Healthy People 2020 organizes the social determinants of health around 5 key domains: (1) Economic Stability, (2) Education, (3) Health and Health Care, (4) Neighborhood and Built Environment, and (5) Social and Community Context.7 Within each of these domains, compared to individuals without disabilities, individuals with disabilities are more likely to experience challenges, like finding a job, receiving preventive health care services, being able to visit homes in the neighborhood, using fitness facilities, using health information technology, and obtaining sufficient social-emotional support.7 They effect all aspects of life (including access to health care, employment, housing, social participation, transportation and education) and predict health outcomes for people with disabilities and other groups who may be disadvantaged.14,17