PQA Releases Third Edition of Social Determinants of Health Resource Guide


The third edition of the Pharmacy Quality Alliance resource guide includes 40 total SDOH services and 8 new services, as well as 10 initiative updates from the previous 2 editions.

The Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) released its third edition of the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Resource Guide, including 40 total SDOH services and 8 new services, as well as 10 initiative updates from the previous 2 editions, according to a press release from the organization.1,2 The guide is intended to highlight SDOH screenings, referrals, and interventions that improve medication use quality.1

Pharmacy Drugstore Checkout Cashier Counter | Image Credit: Gorodenkoff - stock.adobe.com

Gorodenkoff - stock.adobe.com

“Throughout developing the guide, we have identified several tactics among successful initiatives such as community partnerships, training, and cultural sensitivity,” Amanda Ryan, PharmD, BCGP, CPHQ, education director at PQA, said in the press release. “These tactics can be considered by those developing their own SDOH programs and are testaments to the power of innovation, adaptability, and unwavering dedication to improving the quality of medication use.”1

The first guide was launched in January 2022 with 20 services, and the second edition expanded to include 12 additional services with 9 initiative updates, according to the authors of the guide. The other 2 editions included focuses on SDOH launches or expansions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.2

7 Social Determinants of Health Barriers

  1. Cost of Medications
  2. Cultural or Literacy Barriers
  3. Decent, Safe, and Affordable Housing
  4. Food Security
  5. Screening for Unmet Needs
  6. Social Isolation
  7. Transportation

The guide includes services that address at least 1 of the 7 SDOH barriers, including interventions focused on food and nutrition. Further, the guide also highlights real-world interventions and screening initiatives, particularly programs that are not described in peer-reviewed journals or other literature, according to the press release.1 The 7 barriers included in the resource guide are cost of medications; cultural or literacy barriers; decent, safe, and affordable housing; food security; screening for unmet needs; social isolation; and transportation, according to the guide.2

PQA included 5 key tactic examples from successful SDOH programs highlighted in the guide, which included:2

  • Collaborative partnerships across health care sectors and community organizations
  • Training for health care and non-health care professionals to improve their knowledge and skills to identify and address SDOH barriers for patients
  • Culturally sensitive screening tools tailored to identify patients who might need more support due to SDOH
  • Leveraging data and health information to evaluate and learn valuable insight of SDOH, leading to data-driven decision making
  • Education that is culturally competent and helps health care professionals navigate various cultural landscapes and populations

“PQA members continue to expand the work they are doing to address [SDOH] for the populations that they serve,” Micah Cost, PharmD, MS, CAE, CEO of PQA, said in the press release. “The third edition of the guide takes a closer look at food and nutrition security. We know that individuals without reliable access to affordable, nutritious food are more likely to encounter challenges related to medication access and outcomes of medication therapy.”1

The initiatives are split into setting, including clinics, community pharmacies, hospital systems and other various settings. Of interest, one section includes non-traditional health care, which includes Medicare, blood pressure screening, and even partnering with local barbershops to improve vaccination rates. Grocery stores and health plans are also included to further address and improve nutrition and food insecurity for patients.2

Other topics addressed include telehealth visits, racial and ethnic approaches to help address SDOH, delayed medication pickup outreach, free transportation opportunities, improving medication adherence, patient assistant programs, and medication access in faith-based clinics.2


  1. PQA Releases Third Social Determinants of Health Resource Guide. News release. PQA. January 17, 2024. Accessed January 17, 2024. https://www.pqaalliance.org/pqa-releases-third-social-determinants-of-health-resource-guide
  2. Pharmacy Quality Alliance. Social Determinants of Health Resource Guide. January 17, 2024. Accessed January 17, 2024. https://www.pqaalliance.org/sdoh-resource-guide
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