Randi Smith invited to join ACS COT Working Group on the Social Determinants of Health

June 2020

Randi N. Smith, MD, MPH, assistant professor of surgery and trauma/surgical critical care at Emory School of Medicine/Grady Memorial Hospital and an assistant professor of public health at Rollins School of Public Health, has been invited to join the newly formed Working Group on the Social Determinants of Health of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACS COT).

This multidisciplinary group will consist of health care providers, community members, and public health specialists who have knowledge, expertise, and experience in examining social determinants — the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age — and their impact on chronic diseases, including trauma, and how they intersect with inequity and health care disparities. By articulating how the medical community and the ACS in particular can play a proactive role in addressing the determinants that can harmfully impact communities, the committee can recommend methods and protocols for affecting and reversing these determinants at hospital and systems levels so that medical and public health personnel can better serve their patient communities.

"I am very excited to be invited to join this working group," says Dr. Smith. "Its goals are totally in sync with my passion for advocacy and addressing violence as the public health problem that it is."

Dr. Smith is particularly interested in violence prevention and firearm safety. In 2017, she joined the Violence Prevention Task Force, based out of the Injury Prevention Research Center at Emory (IPRCE), and became a core member of the Program to Interrupt Violence through Outreach and Treatment (PIVOT) at Grady, an evidence-based and data-driven initiative that is focused on reducing gun violence by preventing repeat victimization/hospitalization and retaliatory incidents through outreach and intervention. She is an expert on the relatively recent social phenomenon of coronaviolence, defined as the surge of such home-based violence as child abuse and neglect, elder abuse, self-harm behavior, intimate partner violence, family violence, and interpersonal violence that can be attributed to the significant stress and isolated situations caused by COVID-19.

"The medical community is traditionally reactive to the disease processes that are influenced by social determinants, such as the trauma cases resulting from violence encountered in emergency departments and trauma centers across the country," says Dr. Smith. "This committee is going to work to develop a type of vigilance that will detect and address problem areas before they explode, thereby having a greater impact on the long-term health of our patients and their communities."