Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Promotion

First Committee Member

Athena Ramos

Second Committee Member

Dejun Su

Third Committee Member

David Varner


Social determinants of health (SDOH) are non-health factors that impact health in both direct and indirect ways. Research into SDOH and their effects has been extensive in recent years and has been further documented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the wealth of the literature on the SDOH, awareness of these important factors is not prevalent among community residents. Rural communities are as subject to the impact of SDOH just as their urban counterparts and experience additional complexities related to geography and topography.

This capstone project aims to raise awareness, provide education, and assist with tools and resources, to empower rural communities to address the SDOH from within through a two-phased protocol, which was piloted in one rural county in Nebraska. The first phase included a session to raise awareness and educate on the SDOH, followed by a facilitated session where the facilitator worked with the audience on the prioritization of one to three determinants they wanted to address. Once the determinants were selected and prioritized, a logic model and evaluation plan were developed for implementation after year one of implementation. The expectation is to see the resolution of the priority issues, identify barriers and successes, and determine the next steps if applicable.