Eugenia South, MD, MSHP: Addressing Nature and Other Social Determinants

July 23, 2020
Samara Rosenfeld

Although nature is beneficial, other social determinants of health might need to be addressed more imminently.

Eugenia South, MD, MSPH

As more health systems continue shifting from fee-for-service to fee-for value models, addressing social determinants of health has been increasingly important. In the value-based care model, providers need to care for the overall well-being of their patients.

Eugenia South, MD, MSHP, an emergency medicine physician, said in a recent interview with HCPLive® that prescribing nature might physically, mentally, and emotionally benefit patients.

The problem is that nature is not looked at as often as other social determinants of health such as homelessness, food insecurity, and education.

“I think it’s multifactorial,” South said as a reason why nature is often overlooked.

South believes it may be harder to change how people interact with their environment or to change the physical environment itself.

Providers do not learn about nature in medical school, either.

“It’s just not a standard way of doing things,” South said. “There’s an inertia to get over that.”

Still, nature is not a cure-all and it is very important to address all social determinants. Some patients might have specific and immediate needs that need to be focused on rather than addressing nature right away.

To hear from South, watch the video clip below.