Analysis of Social Determinants of Health in the Pediatric General Surgical Population of a Northeastern Urban Health System

Devin Midura, Samantha Levano, Kevin P. Fiori, Benjamin A. Farber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Social determinants of health (SDOH) have been identified as factors that influence patient health outcomes. These are well described in adult and pediatric general populations, however, there is a paucity of data for surgical patients. This study compares the prevalence of health-related social needs (HRSN) among pediatric surgery and general pediatric patients. Methods: We retrospectively assessed electronic health record data to identify patients who completed a standardized HRSN screener within our health system and underwent surgery by a pediatric surgeon between January 2019 and December 2021. We compared this population to non-surgical pediatric patients during this time. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to estimate the likelihood of having 1 or more HRSN given a patient's surgery status. Logistic and linear regressions were conducted to estimate healthcare utilization in pediatric surgery patients given their HRSN status. Results: 33,989 general pediatric and pediatric surgery patients (age <21 years) were screened for HRSNs, and 2112 operations were performed during the study period. 343 (20%) of the surgical patients operated on by pediatric surgeons were screened for HRSNs. Surgical patients were more likely to be younger, Latinx, Spanish-speaking, and non-commercially insured (p < 0.0001). Surgical patients were 50% more likely to report one or more HRSN, when adjusting for demographic characteristics (aOR 1.50, 95% CI 1.16, 1.94). Conclusion: Pediatric surgery patients are more likely to report HRSNs compared to the general pediatric population. Surgical patients may represent an at-risk group, and universal HRSN screening and support should be considered to improve outcomes. Level of Evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Health-related social needs
  • Healthcare disparities
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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