While the fundamental social determinants of health will only be fully addressed with major shifts in government policy and action, there are many innovative and effective ways in which their impact on health disparities can be addressed more immediately. One direction is the work that community health centres do in delivering community-based primary care and related services that support disadvantaged communities particularly. A tremendous paper from the early 1990s set out the vital role community health centres can play in community development and in addressing the social determinants of health at their root causes.
The Association of Ontario Health Centres recently commissioned a scan of the impact of regionalization on community health centres across the country. The Association has a great deal of useful material on its site.
A second direction is public health departments and programs building a social determinants approach into their health promotion and interventions. This has been much discussed in recent conferences of the Ontario Public health Association and others organizations. Arising out of the 2005 OPHA conference, the Sudbury and District Health Unit has produced a discussion paper on how this challenge can be met .
There is also an interesting American handbook on how to put social determinants approaches into practice in public health work.