Health care providers and payers are increasingly taking responsibility for health outcomes and population health through a variety of approaches, including screening for social determinants of health. Just as pediatricians need time and training to integrate these screenings into their practices, parents may not necessarily expect to discuss social needs with pediatricians when they take their children to them for care.

Attempts to integrate social determinants of health screenings into pediatric primary care are more likely to succeed if they are grounded in an understanding of parentsí receptivity to discussing social needs and responsive to their concerns about doing so. Yet little research has asked parents, particularly low-income parents, for their perspectives about social determinants of health and how screenings can be implemented successfully. To help fill this gap, Public Agenda, with support from United Hospital Fund, conducted qualitative research with low-income parents in New York City in an effort to obtain answers to three main questions:

  • What are these parentsí perspectives on social determinants of health?
  • How receptive are they to discussing social needs with pediatricians?
  • What are their ideas for making social determinants of health screenings work well?

In eight focus groups, Public Agenda engaged low-income parents in discussion of topics including:

  • What do these parents worry about or find challenging when it comes to their childrenís health and well-being?
  • How do their worries and challenges relate to the social determinants of health for which some pediatricians are screening?
  • Where can parents go for help in the face of those worries and challenges?
  • Do parents view their childrenís pediatricians as good sources of help with or information about social needs? Why or why not?
  • How do parents think pediatricians can successfully integrate screenings for and conversations about social determinants of health into pediatric primary care?

Download PDF for Full Report

Itís About Trust: Low-Income Parentsí Perspectives on How Pediatricians Can Screen for Social Determinants of Health

Media Type: PDF

This report explores low-income parentsí views on discussing social determinants of health with their childrenís pediatricians and offers insight on how doctors can have these conversations with parents in productive ways.



Public Agenda knows what it takes to fuel progress on critical issues.
We need your support to keep things moving!

Join the Community


Take Action