Tip of the Month
NEJM’s New Case Studies Explore the Impact of Life Circumstances on Health and Health Care
December 16, 2019
The social determinants of health— the food we eat, the air we breathe, the communities we live in— have a profound impact on our bodies. The health care system is increasingly recognizing this fact and devising ways to address these patient realities.
NEJM’s 2019 monthly perspective series, Case Studies in Social Medicine, explores the intersection of these social determinants and clinical care, with the goal of helping clinicians, health systems, and others better understand social medicine’s concepts and applications. One recent case study describes the challenges of caring for a depressed, 39-year-old pregnant, migrant farmworker, engaged in heavy physical labor. She moves from farm to farm every few weeks and suffers from regular exposure to pesticides and excessive heat. Another article looks at the case of a factory worker with severe rheumatoid arthritis whose supply of prescribed opioids is newly restricted. He ends up buying oxycodone on the black market.
The once-a-month case studies are co-written by practicing physicians and social medicine scholars.