The Sociome Data Commons – a platform designed by the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM) and other partners to explore how non-medical factors like the environment impacts people’s health – was recently featured in a study published in The Journal of Clinical and Translational Science.
The ITM defines the “sociome” as encompassing all the social, environmental, psychological, and behavioral factors that influence health. Often, these are related to where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age. These aspects of humans’ lives impact their health and have nothing to do with a medical chart – and includes traditionally understood social determinants of health along with many other features of lived lives, like exposure to sunshine, noise, trees, and more.
The publication outlines the key features and illustrates the potential impact of this scalable tool through a pilot study of asthma in children living on the South Side of Chicago.
The researchers found that that things like housing conditions and violence worsened children’s asthma.
The article, authored by sociome experts, computer scientists, informaticists, data scientists, and clinicians from multiple ITM institutions, emphasizes the importance of considering social determinants of health when doing research that helps advance health equity.
“This new tool helps investigators use big data technology to make discoveries that could reveal how which aspects of daily living most importantly impact health,” said Sam Volchenboum, MD, PhD, MS, Associate Director of the Institute for Translational Medicine for Informatics. “This asthma pilot study is just the start, and we’re excited to share this platform with others to fuel many more findings to come.”