Social Trajectory: a Fundamental Perspective for Health Treatment

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Júlia Demuner, a medical student at Universidade Vila Velha, Brazil. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Since the mid-19th century, there has been increasing evidence that the health conditions of a population are related to characteristics of the social and environmental context in which it lives. Poverty, precarious housing conditions, an inadequate urban environment and unhealthy working conditions are some of the many factors that negatively affect the health conditions of a population.

Although countless resources and outcomes are unevenly distributed across nations and social groups, differences in health can be considered a particularly important problem, as their consequences are often irreversible for individuals. An example of this scenario can be seen in an individual whose nutrition was deficient in adolescence (a period of critical development for bone formation), as this individual will tend to be more predisposed to bone fractures later in life, regardless of attempts to slow down the loss. bone in adulthood.

Thus, knowing that social inequalities in health result from the unfair distribution of several social determinants, it is important to monitor these differences between social groups, after all, this process allows us to understand current inequalities in a historical and cultural context, which facilitates a better appreciation of how such an imbalance may have arisen. The World Health Organization, for example, recommends that health indicators be reported by social groups or ‘equity stratifiers’ to improve the monitoring of health inequalities.

In this scenario, it is the responsibility of students and health professionals to emphasize the connection between academic production and government actions at the local level, through partnerships between the social sciences and public health. Therefore, research and clinical analysis should be based on distant studies that go beyond the paternal occupation or childhood neighborhood, since these can be fundamental to explain the current health outcomes of the individual.

Furthermore, considering that it is necessary to recognize the differences in health between social groups in order to focus investments on the most disadvantaged groups, a group-level approach can support the formulation of laws and programs that seek to eliminate differences between social classes.

In summary, it is necessary for doctors, nurses, community assistants and other professionals in the sector to analyze the health of the individual as a whole, also studying the trajectory experienced from the perspective of their social group. In this way, it is possible to assist and guide the necessary interventions, as well as allowing the surveillance of important equity issues and boosting our understanding of health, through the establishment of connections that, in the past, were not priorities in the process of treating patients.


  1. Barreto, Mauricio Lima. “Desigualdades Em Saúde: Uma Perspectiva Global.” Ciência & Saúde Coletiva, vol. 22, no. 7, July 2017, pp. 2097–2108,
  2. Sen A. Why and how is health a human right? Lancet 2008; 372: 2010.
  3. Organização Mundial da Saúde (2013). Handbook on health inequality monitoring with a special focus on low- and middle-income countries. Genebra: Organização Mundial da Saúde.
  4. A transformação do conhecimento acadêmico em ações locais para redução das desigualdades sociais em saúde | DSS Brasil; Determinantes Sociais da Saúde. Published June 8, 2022.

About the author

Júlia Demuner is a medical student at Universidade Vila Velha, Brazil. Júlia constantly seeks a multidisciplinary training beyond the academic sphere, working in extension projects, entrepreneurship and in the production of books and articles that aim to promote the dissemination of scientific knowledge in the community.

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