Structural Competencies and its Applications

By: Alexandra Filipkowski

The term ‘structural competency’ is used to emphasize the unique, and ever-changing relationships between clinical problems and social determinants of health. Social determinants of health include, but are not limited to, an individual’s housing situation, education, and income.These factors are absolutely vital for healthcare workers to keep in mind because they dictate an individual’s likeliness to get a certain illness or an individual’s ability, or lack thereof, to seek out proper treatment.

Structural competencies are constantly disproportionately affecting minority groups, especially with regards to cardiovascular health and disease. It is known that ​heart disease is the second leading cause of death for US Hispanics, responsible for 20.8 % of all deaths. Many people may take this fact and just assume that “oh that is unlucky for all those hispanic” or “maybe it is just something in hispanic DNA.” However, the problem is much bigger than a ‘case of bad luck.’ Instead, we have to take into consideration where most hispanics people live and look to see if there may be a connection between location and availability of tobacco products, which are notorious for causing heart problems. Additionally, we would have to analyze the average income of these hispanic people.There could be a chance that the majority of hispanics don’t make enough money in their jobs, thus they do not want to spend the money they have on heart screenings or routine doctors appointments. These are just two examples of how a certain minority group being affected by a disease is more than just a case of ‘bad luck.’ Clearly, the prominence of heart disease in Hispanics is rooted within factors like income and location that we refer to as ‘social determinants of health.’

This being said, it is clear that my media project needs to be crafted through a lens focused on social determinants of health. My research project is looking at the “Connection between maternal smoking and Ventricular Septal Defects.” In order to understand the effects of Tobacco I am looking at which minority group has the largest amount of ventricular septal defects. However, once I find this information I am going to see which of these groups may have greater access to tobacco given their zip code. To elaborate, I want to know why these pregnant women are easily getting access to the tobacco, and it likely has something to do with their less affluent zip code, thus being surrounded with more violence and drugs.

For the metrics for my media project my group will have a “Pre-Video Quiz” and a“Post-Video Quiz.” In the “Pre-Video Quiz” we will ask the viewers questions to gauge how much information they already know about ventricular septal defects. Some questions may include “Rate on a scale of 1-10 how much you think maternal smoking can affect an unborn baby” or “Please select which description below most accurately describes what a ventricular septal defect is.” In the “Post-Video Quiz” we will ask mainly the same questions as we did in the “Pre-Video Quiz.” By doing this, we can see what the viewer knew prior to our media project and then we can see if the viewer actually learned anything based on their answers in the “Post-Video Quiz.” Clearly, if a viewer can get a substantial amount of answers correct in the “Post-Video Quiz” compared to their answers in the “Pre-Video Quiz” then we can confidently assume that they learned something, thus our video was effective.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828242/95%2 / 2women are easily getting access to the tobacco and it likely has something to do with their lessaffluent zip code, thus being surrounded with more violence and drugs.For the metrics for my media project my group will have a “Pre-Video Quiz” and a“Post-Video Quiz.” In the “Pre-Video Quiz” we will ask the viewers questions to gauge howmuch information they know about ventricular septal defects. Some questions may include “Rateon a scale of 1-10 how much you think maternal smoking can affect an unborn baby” or “Pleaseselect which description below most accurately describes what a ventricular septal defect is.” Inthe “Post-Video Quiz” we will ask mainly the same questions as we did in the “Pre-Video Quiz.”By doing this, we can see what the viewer knew prior to our media project and then we can see ifthe viewer actually learned anything based on their answer to the “Post-Video Quiz.” Clearly, ifa viewer can get a substantial amount of answers correct in the “Post-Video Quiz” compared totheir answers in the “Pre-Video Quiz” then we can confidently assume that they learnedsomething, thus our video was effective.

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