Social Determinants of Health: Implications for Voice Disorders and Their Treatment

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Purpose: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and related conditions, such as discrimination, are social determinants of health (SDOHs). Critical race theory (CRT) is a lens through which to understand SDOHs in a way that may impact our clinical care. When prolonged or chronic, SDOHs might cause toxic stress and trauma, which, in turn, adversely affect health and are shown to be relevant for some voice disorders. The goals of this tutorial are to (a) review the literature on SDOHs that potentially contribute to disparities; (b) discuss explanatory models and theories that describe how psychosocial factors influence health; (c) relate the foregoing information to voice disorders, highlighting functional voice disorders (FVDs) as a particular case in point; and (d) describe how trauma-informed care can improve patient outcomes and advance health equity for vulnerable populations. Conclusions: This tutorial concludes with a call for heightened awareness of the role that SDOHs such as structural and individual discrimination may play in voice disorders, and a call for research into SDOHs, traumatic stress, and health disparities in this patient population. A call is also made for more univer-sal practice of trauma-informed care in the clinical voice domain.

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American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology

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