Examining Privilege as a Social Determinant of Health with Undergraduate Health Care Students





social determinants of health, privilege, Modified Privilege Walk, undergraduate students, allied health professionals


Discussions about privilege as a social determinant of health (SDOH) may increase awareness of privilege and SDOH for health care students and improve quality of care. The study aimed to examine students’ perception of privileges related to various SDOH, including race and social class. Health care students completed a pre-survey prior to a Modified Privilege Walk (MPW) and then a post-survey immediately after the MPW. Nonparametric tests were used to analyze data. Data included 18 matched pre- and post-surveys. The MPW assignment resulted in a significant improvement of 1.5 points in recognition of parents’ education as a privilege (p = 0.047). Student responses showed a decline in guilt about personal privilege (-0.11 points, p = 0.7656). On average, students agreed the MPW assignment made them more aware of their privilege and positively impacted how they will interact with future patients. The pre- and post-survey identified SDOH that students, on average, felt gave them more privilege (e.g., parents’ profession and education). This pilot project illustrates the need to teach about SDOH and include frank discussions about personal privilege as an integral component of SDOH


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Author Biographies

Aramis Gregory

A. Gregory is a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Bioethics graduate program at The Ohio State University. Her research interests include studying how health care students define and perceive privilege as a social determinant of health.

Dr. Brandi M. White, University of Kentucky

B.M. White is an assistant professor and health equity researcher in the Department of Health and Clinical Sciences at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY. Her research investigates how the social determinants of health affect the cardiovascular health of minoritized racial/ethnic groups and low-income groups.

Dr. Elizabeth A. Brown, Medical University of South Carolina

E.A. Brown is an assistant professor and health services researcher in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. Her research interest includes social determinants of health, particularly health care policy, access to care, privilege, race/ethnicity, and chronic conditions.

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How to Cite

Gregory, A., White, B., & Brown, E. (2022). Examining Privilege as a Social Determinant of Health with Undergraduate Health Care Students. Journal of Student Research, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsr.v11i1.1462



Research Articles