Microcredit and the Social Determinants of Health: A Conceptual Approach


Rebekah Salt, College of Nursing, MSC09 5350, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-5688. E-mail: rsalt@salud.unm.edu


ABSTRACT Social determinants of health, such as human behavior, environment, and socioeconomics, contribute to health disparities at the individual and population levels. The association between socioeconomics and health is established, and it is acknowledged that people with a lower socioeconomic status experience poorer health. The impetus of microcredit programs is to provide financial alternatives for low-income populations, the majority of whom are women with limited or no access to traditional lending, to start small businesses, generate income, and progress toward self-sufficiency. The income-health link within the context of microcredit has been internationally acknowledged; however, there is scarce research in this area in the United States. This article presents a review of the conceptual approach used to explore the microcredit and health link from a public health nursing perspective. Establishing conceptual foundations can enhance research focused on targeted interventions aimed at lasting change in social and health status. Exploring the link between microcredit and health can enrich research efforts and may offer innovative strategies and interventions to improve health-promoting capacity in impoverished groups.