Assessing social needs among patients with cardiovascular and psychiatric comorbidities in free community health clinics

David Haddad, Venkata Sai Jasty, Jacob Ref, Paul Hsu, Patricia Lebensohn, Tze Woei Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Community-related health assessments have been shown to improve several outcomes in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations with comorbid chronic health conditions. However, while it is recognized that modifiable social determinant of health (SDH) factors might be responsible for up to 60% of preventable deaths, it is not yet standard of care to routinely screen and address these at preventive health appointments. The objective of this study was to identify the social needs of socioeconomically disadvantaged patients. Methods We performed a retrospective review of the socioeconomic screening questionnaires distributed to under- and uninsured patients seen at a medical student-run free primary carebased community clinic. This study included participants of all ages (0 and up), genders, languages, and ethnicities who filled out the social screening questionnaire. Socioeconomic screening questionnaires assessed the need for critical resources such as food, housing, utilities, finances, transportation, childcare, employment, education, legal support, companionship, health literacy, and community assistance. The primary study outcome was to identify unmet social needs of our medical student-run free clinic patients. We secondarily sought to identify associations between these needs and chronic health conditions. We hypothesized that patients with multiple chronic health problems and financial stressors would have the highest requests for resources. Results Our retrospective review identified 264 uninsured participants who were evaluated for social needs using a screening questionnaire. Participants who reported unmet social needs had significantly more cardiovascular risk factors than those who did not. Cardiovascular comorbidities and a history of psychiatric illness were the two most common medical problems significantly associated with several unmet social needs. Conclusion This study provides support for the preemptive identification and appropriate management of physical, mental, and social care to improve disproportionate disparities in long-term health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0291682
JournalPloS one
Issue number9 September
StatePublished - Sep 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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