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Stanford’s Sanjay Basu: A career dedicated to the social determinants of health

There's a nice feature on the work of Stanford's Sanjay Basu, MD, PhD, over on the NIH Director's Blog today. After sharing the story of his mother battling with a serious lung infection when Basu was a boy, Francis Collins, MD, PhD, explains how the experience shaped Basu's future career:

This wrenching experience gave Basu a first-hand appreciation for the social determinants of health—the conditions in which people live and the myriad internal and external forces that dynamically shape them. Now an assistant professor at Stanford... Basu has dedicated his career to studying the social determinants of health disparities, health differences that adversely affect disadvantaged populations. He recently received an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award to examine U.S. social assistance programs and their effects on a range of health outcomes over the last 40-plus years. He’ll consider eight federal and state programs—including income, housing, and food assistance programs—that reach more than 1 in 3 Americans.

Basu’s two-fold goal is to discover whether these programs have reduced health disparities and where they can be tweaked to work more effectively. He will address a host of issues, ranging from whether affordable housing programs can help lower-income people with asthma better control the condition to whether welfare programs have an influence on the health of single mothers.

Previously: Stanford physician Sanjay Basu on using data to prevent chronic disease in the developing worldStudy shows banning soda purchases using food stamps would reduce obesity and type-2 diabetes and Stanford's Sanjay Basu named a Top Global Thinker of 2013
Photo courtesy of Sanjay Basu

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