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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Comments on PhenX Toolkit Proposals for Social Determinants of Health


    Philip Alberti, Senior Director, Health Equity Research and Policy

    The AAMC submitted comments on Feb. 3 to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) at the National Institutes of Health on the social determinant of health (SDOH) measures proposed for inclusion in the Consensus Measures for Phenotypes and Exposures (PhenX) Toolkit.

    The PhenX Toolkit was established in 2007 and provides investigators with access to well-established, low-burden, standardized measures to incorporate into new or existing biomedical studies involving human subjects.

    NIMHD requested feedback on the preliminary measurement protocols generated by the PhenX SDOH Working Group, which would fill an existing gap in standard SDOH measures in the toolkit.

    In its comments, the AAMC applauded the effort to standardize the collection of social factor data to build the evidence base of solutions to health inequities and facilitate population and community health science. The AAMC suggested that NIMHD:

    1. Separate measures that assess community-level SDOH from those that assess individual-level health-related social needs (HRSN).
    2. Identify measures that are accessible to, and useful for, measurement across diverse communities.
    3. Develop and disseminate guidance concerning the ethical imperative researchers may have to refer participants who screen positive for serious HRSN and SDOH.

    The PhenX website includes an updated list and descriptions of SDOH protocols for review.