Fundamental Interventions: How Clinicians Can Address the Fundamental Causes of Disease

Adam D. Reich, Helena B. Hansen, Bruce G. Link

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In order to enhance the “structural competency” of medicine—the capability of clinicians to address social and institutional determinants of their patients’ health—physicians need a theoretical lens to see how social conditions influence health and how they might address them. We consider one such theoretical lens, fundamental cause theory, and propose how it might contribute to a more structurally competent medical profession. We first describe fundamental cause theory and how it makes the social causes of disease and health visible. We then outline the sorts of “fundamental interventions” that physicians might make in order to address the fundamental causes.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)185-192
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Bioethical Inquiry
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


    • Fundamental cause theory
    • Fundamental interventions
    • Population health
    • Social determinants
    • Structural competency

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health(social science)
    • Health Policy


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