Who Can Benefit

We believe everyone in society has the power to make changes that improve their health.

However, our network was founded with the knowledge that for some populations within our national and local communities there are factors that stand as barriers to good health. SelfMade Health Network and its members work to address the challenges inherent within populations of people that data has shown are more vulnerable when it comes to accessing good health outcomes, in the hopes of removing gaps of opportunity that exist today.

One of the groups of characteristics proven to directly correlate with increased cancer risk and higher occurrence of preventable disease is generally defined as “low socioeconomic status” or “low SES”.

Socioeconomic status is a combined total measure of a person's work experience and of an individual's or family's economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation and is normally broken into three categories (high SES, middle SES, and low SES).

Those with low socioeconomic status tend to have one or more of the following traits:

  • Less than 10 years of formal education
  • Poor reading skills & literacy communications skills
  • Have family incomes below or near 250% of the national poverty level
  • Low wage earners and fluctuating income; typically that involve unskilled labor or manual labor
  • Higher rates of risky behavior (smoking, smokeless tobacco, lack of exercise, obesity, etc.)

Socioeconomic status is frequently noted as a contributor to many unequal health outcomes observed among populations, alongside other factors such as race and ethnic status, gender and age. These disparities illuminate the need for additional education, services and community activities among its populations.

Additional vulnerabilities are present for individuals or families that:

  • Are homeless or in unstable housing
  • Are not native English speakers
  • Factory workers or shift-work employees
  • Live in extremely rural areas
  • Live in highly urban areas or crowded living space
  • Have poor parental structure
  • Neighborhoods with high vacancy rates
  • Frequent locations that increase exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Have limited access to reliable transportation