Addressing the social determinants of health (SDOH) that influence teen pregnancy is paramount to eliminating disparities and achieving health equity. Expanding prevention efforts from purely individual behavior change to improving the social, political, economic, and built environments in which people live, learn, work, and play may better equip vulnerable youth to adopt and sustain healthy decisions. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with the Office of Adolescent Health funded state- and community-based organizations to develop and implement the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Community-Wide Initiative. This effort approached teen pregnancy from an SDOH perspective, by identifying contextual factors that influence teen pregnancy and other adverse sexual health outcomes among vulnerable youth. Strategies included, but were not limited to, conducting a root cause analysis and establishing nontraditional partnerships to address determinants identified by community members. This article describes the value of an SDOH approach for achieving health equity, explains the integration of such an approach into community-level teen pregnancy prevention activities, and highlights two project partners’ efforts to establish and nurture nontraditional partnerships to address specific SDOH.
Authors: Taleria Fuller, Carla White, Jocelyn Chu, Deborah Dean, Naomi Clemmons, Carmen Chaparro, Jessica Thames, Anitra Belle Henderson, Pebbles King in Health Promotion Practice, No. 1-8, 2016