Course Summary

Practice Level: Intermediate

This course is Part 1 of a three-part series designed to meet the 15-hour prelicensure or general license renewal requirements on the topics of culture and the psychosocial implications of socioeconomic position for social work, psychology, marriage and family therapy, and clinical counseling professionals in the state of California. Part 2 can be found here and Part 3 can be found here. Learners intending to fulfill their California requirement should take only these courses. This content is similar to the non-state-specific version of this course for social workers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and counselors titled Part 1: Culture and Social Determinants of Health that can be found here. Because of content overlap, participants should take either Part 1 of the California offering or Part 1 of the non-state-specific offering, but not both.

Major health and mental health disparities exist in the United States (U.S.), with vastly different health outcomes and living circumstances for individuals in differing geographic and social communities. The purpose of the course is to introduce social workers, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, and counselors with to the effects of social determinants of health and guide them in incorporating this information into assessment and intervention with individuals, groups, families and communities. Comprehensive information about the ways that social stigmas and cultural forces impact individuals and communities to create differential health outcomes is explored. The learning material examines factors and social constructions affecting health outcomes and access to care including racial and ethnic identity, gender identity and expression, body size, ability status, immigration status, engagement in marginalized work (such as sex work), mental health status (including a discussion on substance use), legal status (including current and former incarceration), and economic disadvantage. Further, the effects of socioeconomic status and position on individuals, along with varied effects of stigma and discrimination (including the disparate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic where applicable), are described in detail. Following from this is an exploration of how commonly applied theories of human behavior and health integrate these concepts into case conceptualization, which includes a thorough discussion of the social and cultural impacts on the presenting problems of clients. Current research provides insights about the state of understanding with regard to social determinants of health as well as the direction of future research, and many clinical examples and case vignettes are included to illustrate concepts and aid clinicians in the development of their skills. Case vignettes illustrate the complexities of these diversity dimensions and offer questions for deeper thought.

Course Format

This course contains downloadable online lessons (PDF) and a practice test. When you’re ready, purchase the course by clicking the “Add To Cart” button. This will let you take the test, complete the course evaluation and receive your certificate for CE credits.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize multiple dimensions of health outcomes related to specific social determinants of health in the United States.
  • Explain the connection between identities/group memberships and differential health outcomes for groups of people in the United States.
  • Describe how socioeconomic status and socioeconomic position affect potential health outcomes.
  • Describe ways that stigma affects help seeking and individual experiences with the health care system.
  • Apply assessment theories to client case conceptualization with emphasis on social determinants of health.

Course Syllabus


Socioeconomic Status (SES) and Socioeconomic Position (SEP)

Dimensions of Diversity

  • Poverty and Economic Disadvantage
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Colorism
  • Gender Identity and Expression
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Body Size, Weight Stigma, and Size Bias
  • Ability Status
  • Immigration Status
  • Engagement in Marginalized Work
  • Mental Health Status
  • Substance Use Status
  • Legal and Incarceration Status
  • Veterans and Military Personnel
  • Other Social Elements
  • Vignettes

Theoretical Frameworks for Understanding SES, SEP, And SDH

  • Life Course Perspective
  • Relational Cultural Theory
  • Social Ecological Model of Health and Systems Theory
  • Minority Stress Theory




Jessie Timmons, LCSW

Jessie Timmons, LCSW, is a seasoned therapist and teacher of social work, as well as a practiced advocate for cultural humility and inclusive advocacy. She is a former faculty member of Temple University’s School of Social Work and is a current board member, having served two years as the board president, for the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work (PSCSW). Her teaching and professional development have focused on ethical practice and in particular on making inclusiveness and affirmative advocacy an integral part of the ethical practice of social work and social work education.

Accreditation Approval Statements is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. maintains responsibility for this program and its content., provider #1115, is approved as an ACE provider to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. ACE provider approval period: 08/08/21-08/08/24. Social workers completing this course receive 5 cultural competence continuing education credits. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6991. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Courses have been approved by, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #91345 is responsible for all aspects of the programming.

We are committed to providing our learners with unbiased information. CE4Less never accepts commercial support and our authors have no significant financial or other conflicts of interest pertaining to the material.

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