Special Issue "Pathways towards Health Equity: Tackling Social Determinants of Health to Eliminate Health Disparities"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Care Sciences & Services".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ester Villalonga-Olives
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, School of Pharmacy, University of Maryland Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
Interests: social determinants of health including social cohesion and capital of vulnerable populations; social epidemiology; health inequalities; racial differences; longitudinal studies; patient reported outcomes
Dr. Yusuf Ransome
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT 06510, USA
Interests: social and cultural determinants of health including social cohesion and capital and religious involvement applied to HIV, chronic disease, and substance use outcomes

Special Issue Information

A vast body of research has shown that the health of a population is determined to a lesser extent by individual lifestyles and biology, but more profoundly by historical and socially determined conditions such as the socioeconomic position and social relationships among individuals and across neighborhoods. The study of social conditions and how these conditions influence and determine the health of populations is a subject of interest and importance for public health in general. The WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health showed that health inequities are the result of complex systems operating at global, national, and local levels. The position of a person in the social hierarchy within complex systems affects the conditions in which they grow, learn, live, work, and age, which then structures one’s chances of avoiding disease or producing good health and well-being. The study of social factors in times of economic recession and health crisis such as the current pandemic is of special interest to guide policies and interventions that reduce health inequalities. There is now a plethora of studies documenting racial, gender, religious, immigrant, and other disparities across social groups. As we emerge from the current COVID-19 pandemic, during which existing health disparities have been truly exposed, we need to identify solutions that have worked, or are being proposed to eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity. To decrease health inequalities, it is important to concentrate on the social factors which determine how people grow, live, work, and age.

For this Special Issue, we invite the submission of papers that describe interventions that are being conceptualized, developed, implemented, and/or evaluated that intervene through one or more social determinants (e.g., racism, socioeconomic conditions, social capital, gender inequality, racial capitalism, religious discrimination, and intergenerational trauma) in one or more population groups. We are particularly interested in papers that intervene across levels including neighborhood or societal, and/or across multiple systems including government/political or cultural (e.g., the church, schools, health departments). Interventions can take many forms, including but not limited to art/music, curriculum, community organization activities, or economic revitalization projects. We are especially interested in papers that also describe how health equity principles were included in the conceptualization or design and evaluation of interventions, the intended target audience, and a discussion of other contexts where the work can possibly extend. Authors are encouraged to think broadly about how their work might influence populations across multiples ociopolitical or geographic contexts (e.g., How might an anti-racism intervention created for Black children in France inform, or be adapted to address racism experienced by Black children in the USA? How might addressing gender inequality among Muslim women in Indonesia be relevant for Muslim women in the United Kingdom?).

Dr. Ester Villalonga-Olives
Dr. Yusuf Ransome
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • social determinants of health
  • social factors
  • social epidemiology
  • health inequalities
  • disparities
  • structural racism
  • interventions
  • programs
  • community organization
  • policies
  • social ecological model

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Relationship between Everyday Discrimination and Substance Use among Adolescents in Northern Chile
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6485; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18126485 - 16 Jun 2021
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Substance use is a public health problem that affects the normal physical, neurological, and psychological development of adolescents. Apparently, discrimination is an important variable for explaining the initiation and continued use of alcohol and marijuana. Since most research focused on discrimination based on [...] Read more.
Substance use is a public health problem that affects the normal physical, neurological, and psychological development of adolescents. Apparently, discrimination is an important variable for explaining the initiation and continued use of alcohol and marijuana. Since most research focused on discrimination based on factors, such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender faced by minority groups, studies on discrimination faced by the general population remain scarce. This cross-sectional study described the relationship between everyday discrimination and alcohol and marijuana use-related behaviors among Chilean adolescents. It included 2330 students between 12 and 20 years of age from educational establishments in the city of Arica. To evaluate substance use, specifically alcohol and marijuana, the Child and Adolescent Evaluation System (SENA) was used. The Everyday Discrimination scale was used to evaluate discrimination. Age and everyday discrimination can predict up to 11% of the variance in substance use. Reducing the incidence of everyday discrimination may help reduce heavy alcohol and marijuana consumption among adolescents. Full article
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