Social Drivers of Health and Child Well-Being

It is widely believed that environmental factors such as lack of employment opportunities, Inadequate access to food, unstable housing, and household substance use, lead to family stressors that negatively impact children. Some of these impacts may come through direct maltreatment from family or community member. This capstone project focused on understanding different ways through which environmental factors shape the lives and safety of children. Specifically, we were looking into how community-level social determinants of health (SDOH) influence or relate with reported cases of child maltreatment. Our analysis utilized Electronic Health Records (EHR) data from Duke University affiliated hospitals in Durham and the Census Data. By mapping confirmed cases of child maltreatment from the structured EHR data against the neighborhood characteristics, we sought to find patterns that link children’s living conditions to incidents of child maltreatment both at the block and tract levels. We examined factors such as median household income, educational attainment rates, eviction rates, unemployment, and availability of community resources.