Course Summary

Practice Level: Intermediate

Important note about this learning material: This course is Part 1 of a three-part series designed for social workers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and counselors on the topics of culture and the psychosocial implications of socioeconomic position. Parts 2 and 3 of this series are companion courses. Parts 2 and 3 for social workers can be found here and here; and for psychologists, counselors, and mfts here and here). Although it is not necessary to read the companion courses the learner’s experience will be enriched by the information presented in Parts 2 and 3.

This content is similar to a different offering intended to meet California pre-licensure requirements for social workers, school psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and counselors on the topic of culture and the psychosocial implications of socioeconomic position. If you are seeking the California required courses Part 1 can be found here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here. Due to content overlap, participants should take either the California requirements or this course, 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 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” or “Enroll” 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
Theoretical Frameworks for Understanding SES, SEP, And SDH
            Life Course Perspec tive
            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 4 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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