As the reality of the deepest recession in U.S. history sets in, we are beginning to see its impact manifested in reduced funding for programs that matter most to poor and working class families. Education, key to avoiding ppersistent overty, has been hard hit with the loss of thousands of teachers in public schools. The safety net is under stress by not only lower tax receipts for states, but also by the prospect of repealing the Affordable Care Act. Law enforcement funding cuts mean slower response times to crime victims-often women and children in poor neighborhoods.
These government functions and others comprise the social determinants of health. Over the last ten years social determinants were identified, but quantifying them was necessary. Connecticut came to the rescue with the health equity index (HEI). The HEI is defined as follows: "A systematic, identification, quantification and measurement of social determinants that lead to health disparities."
The index includes ten social determinants and defines their components linking them to specific indicators. A PowerPoint presentation (2006) from the Joint Center for Political & Economic Studiesin Washington D.C. offers a good explanation of HEI.