Integrating social determinants into pharmacotherapy courses: A case-based learning approach

Olihe N. Okoro, Susan A. DeVuyst-Miller, Danielle A MacDonald, Katherine G. Montag-Schafer, Chrystian R Pereira, Sarah K. Schweiss, Ann M. Yapel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The recognition of social determinants as major drivers of health outcomes has important implications for health care providers, including pharmacists. It is therefore imperative that providers have the requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes to adequately address the contributions of social determinants of health (SDOH) alongside the impact of medical care on health and treatment outcomes. Case-based learning is a common practice in pharmacy education. Patient cases used in pharmacotherapy courses typically highlight clinical parameters and quantitative indices, often to the exclusion of sociocultural contexts. In actual practice, pharmacists (and other health care providers) must consider both clinical information and the context of SDOH in order to deliver responsive and effective patient care.

EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITY AND SETTING: The aim of the project was to build patient cases that reflect both aspects. The intent is to use these cases in the core pharmacy curriculum to teach students how to concurrently consider both clinical and social elements in patient care. Eleven pharmacists and educators participated in three work groups to develop 10 cases for pharmacotherapy courses in cardiovascular disease, diabetes management, and mental health. Two of the cases were facilitated with fourth year students on advanced pharmacy practice experiences.

SUMMARY: Feedback from case developers and students highlights features of the cases that lend them to utility in the pharmacy curriculum. The integration of SDOH in patient cases provides opportunity for students to build the relevant competencies that will enable them to provide holistic patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1438-1447
Number of pages10
JournalCurrents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge Nwachukwu N, Funk K, Retaskie H, and Schneiderhan M for their contribution to the case development.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


  • Case-based learning
  • Patient cases
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Pharmacy education
  • Social determinants of health

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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