Need for Research on Social Determinants of Health for Stroke Outcomes: Ralph Sacco, MD, MS, FAAN, FAHA

The chair of neurology and Olemberg Family Chair of Neurological Disorders at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine detailed the reasons behind the lack of research on social determinants of health on stroke outcomes.

"We can tell everybody about the right diet, but if they can’t get to the right places to buy the right food, that’s an issue. Access to healthy food delivery areas are important. We can tell people to exercise, but if you live in an urban area where there’s no places to walk safely or a park, that’s a problem.”

Initial findings from the Transitions of Care Stroke Disparities Study highlighted possible mechanisms of action by which education, economic conditions, and psychosocial factors may influence stroke severity and disability after stroke. The data, presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2021, March 17-19, included 344 patients with stroke and aimed to provide preliminary findings on social determinants of health (SDH) measures at the individual- and ZIP-code-level across outcomes of stroke severity and disability.

In the abstract presented, the authors note that SDH are major contributors to stroke incidence and disparities, but their relationship with these outcomes is relatively unexplored. Ralph Sacco, MD, MS, FAAN, FAHA, who was among those involved with the study, claims that there has been an increased interest in SDH, but collecting data on it has been difficult to this point.

Sacco, chair of neurology and Olemberg Family Chair of Neurological Disorders at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, recently sat down with NeurologyLive to discuss the advantages researching SDH may have on stroke outcomes, as well as the reasons why research has been relatively difficult to gather to this point.