Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Humanities and Social Sciences Communications






114 (1-8)


Authors used an andragogy framework to help undergraduate allied health students better understand social determinants of health (SDOH) using a photo essay assignment. The study examined students’ perceptions of SDOH in various communities, description of health outcomes associated with their chosen SDOH, and lessons learned and suggestions to improve the assignment for future cohorts. Data were extracted from photo essays from 2019–2021 and entered in Microsoft Excel and Word for data analysis after course completion. Conventional qualitative content analysis was used to analyze student evaluation data from open-ended questions. Data were extracted from 53 student essays from 2019 to 2021. Most photo essays described communities in South Carolina (n = 42, 79.2%), urban areas (n = 37, 69.8%), or intermediary SDOH (75.5%). Several themes emerged concerning lessons learned (awareness and empathy are key to addressing SDOH), health equity (collaboration is necessary to provide resources, especially for underserved populations), and constructive feedback for the instructor (more time to discuss SDOH and assignment with peers and instructor). Faculty must work with students to think about more upstream factors like policy and cultural and societal values. Collecting evaluation data, specifically lessons learned and constructive feedback for faculty, can help faculty continuously improve course topics and assignments. Following a transparency framework can support student success and help faculty become effective leaders in the classroom while teaching subjects like SDOH and social justice.


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Data Availability

Article states: The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available.

Original Publication Citation

Brown, E. A., Kinder, H., Stang, G., & Shumpert, W. (2023). Using adult learning characteristics and the humanities to teach undergraduate healthcare students about social determinants of health. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 10(1), 1-8, Article 114.