Novel social determinants of health training to be conducted for UT Health San Antonio physician residents and fellows

Contact: Eileen Teves, 210-450-7239,

SAN ANTONIO (June 28, 2022) – The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) Office for Graduate Medical Education, in collaboration with University Health and the promotores of San Antonio, will hold an immersive training experience that highlights existing challenges to addressing health-related social determinants in the current health care ecosystem.

The training is part of an overall strategy to create a more equitable health care environment, remove barriers and support our communities in South Texas to achieve their best overall health.

Scheduled for June 29 and 30, the two-day event will take place at the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine on the campus of UT Health San Antonio and at the Westside Education & Training Center in southwest San Antonio.

UT Health San Antonio residents and fellows-in-training will role-play as patients navigating the complex and often fragmented connections between our health care and social services system. The goal will be to highlight the need to address both social systems and clinical health.

The simulation will serve as an opportunity to help ignite conversations and encourage our residents and fellows-in-training to partner with their patients as they screen for and address social determinants of health.

“We are really excited about the social determinants of health orientation. This is our third year providing this training and our first time in-person,” says Woodson Scott Jones, MD, the vice dean for the Office for Graduate Medical Education at the Long School of Medicine. “During the simulation, participants will experience a less integrated health system that does not recognize social determinants or how they impact the health care of our patients.”

During their training, residents and fellows-in-training will work with the promotores of San Antonio, state-certified community health workers, who serve as bridges of trust between clinicians and the patients they care about.

“We want to focus on caring and reminding the new residents and fellows that what they have in their hearts is what matters,” says Carolina Schlenker, MD, MPH, assistant professor/clinical in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Long School of Medicine. “And even if their patient is too sick or too poor, they will know the doctor cares.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines social determinants of health as “conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship and age that affects a wide range of health, functioning and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.” Social determinants of health can be grouped into five domains — health care access and quality economic stability, neighborhood and built environment, education access and quality, social and community context.

“It is critical for the residents and fellows-in-training to recognize, while they are training, the impact of social determinants of health and to ask that additional question of what might be impacting their patient’s compliance,” Dr. Jones said. “To understand how to help our patients make it through the barriers to getting the health care they need—both in training and after—will make a difference in their patients’ lives.”

For more information about social determinants of health, watch this video.

To learn more about the social determinants of health training at UT Health San Antonio, click here.



UT Health San Antonio, South Texas’ largest research university, has an annual research portfolio of $350 million and a Department of Education designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Its Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine is listed among U.S. News & World Report’s best medical schools, ranking in the top 30% for research. Learn more about how UT Health San Antonio does everything it takes to make lives better.

Stay connected with The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram and YouTube.

Share This Article!