What are they?

Social determinants are conditions in the environment where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age. These non-clinical factors can influence length of life and health outcomes.

Why is MHP getting involved in quality of life initiatives?

MHP has a long history of always being well above average, and it's our overall goal to improve the health of our community - thereby increasing the quality of care we provide. In one study, 85% reported that unmet social needs lead directly to poorer health outcomes. If you break down health factors that influence length of life, non-clinical factors total 80%:

  • Physical Environment: 10%
  • Clinical Care: 20%
  • Health Behaviors: 30%
  • Socioeconomic Factors: 40%

MHP can do the best job ever in the physician office or at the bedside, but if the patient goes home to a dangerous or unhealthy environment, our work can be undone in very short order.

What is the MHP Foundation doing to help?

Shelby County has many services available through government, philanthropic, and private resources. The MHP Foundation & MHP will partner with these organizations. Many of these already focus efforts on social determinants of health, but they can be better coordinated to utilize resources most efficiently. Deepening community connections and networks with existing successful services will lead to a low-cost investment for quality programs.

We will begin our focus on four specific social determinants of health:

Early Childhood Learning: Ages 0-3

Only six percent of Shelby County infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are in a high quality care situation. This is 32 out of 2,282 who need care. MHP is working with community partners to develop a $6M facility for early learning on the MHP campus. This facility will offer a nationally standardized curriculum and evidence-based programming for 200 children ages 0-3.

Behavioral Health

Behavioral health is a well-known need, especially in Shelby County. The population of behavioral health patients to providers in Shelby County is 1,040:1. MHP understands this social determinant of health is complex, so we are considering multiple options. Plans are in early development for an inclusive option for all types of patients.


Obesity rates in Shelby County are high. In 2017, 37% of adults were obese. This figure has trended upward since 2011. All metabolic diseases are related to obesity: high BP, high blood sugar, COPD, diabetes, kidney disease, and much more. To combat this, programs must affect behaviors. The current lifestyle medicine practice and YMCA will help patients adopt a healthier lifestyle to reduce obesity.


There is a huge lack of easily accessible, 24/7 transportation in Shelby County that does not require advanced scheduling. This is a bigger problem than you may realize. Lack of transportation leads to missed appointments and declining health. MHP will continue to support ShelbyGo, but we may add a hospital-specific system if growth continues.