Meikirch model

Component 4: Social determinants

The social determinants include the immediate social surroundings of each individual as well as the larger social context. They relate to each person from her or his fertilized oocyte to death.

Good human relationships promote health

The social context of a person encompasses the family, friends, acquaintances, schools, employers, including political institutions. Good lively personal relationships in family and social settings promote health. In contrast, burdensome relationships may compromise health. Whoever damages human relationships, exacerbates the development of the personally acquired potential of affected persons including his own.

Anxiety, greed and abuse of power may lead to disease.

In important fraction of the social framework is determined by laws and by their implementation. Laws are important not only for the health care system, but also in the fields of education, labor, business, and traffic.

A dynamic social participation in family, neighborhood, and community promotes health. Dishonesty, anxiety, greed, and abuse of power may overexert the personally acquired potential not only of coworkers but also of managers.

Society and individuals share mutual responsibility

Although the Meikirch model postulates that the society carries responsibility for health of individuals, each individual must also contribute his or her part for a proper functioning of the society.

Collaboration leads to best results:

The Meikirch model acquired its present form only after combining health care for individuals with public health. This could be realized in 2014 by the collaboration with Dr. Shyama Kuruvilla.


Johannes Bircher, Shyama Kuruvilla

Defining health by addressing individual, social, and environmental determinants: New opportunities for health care and public health

Journal of Public Health Policy (2014) 35,363-368.     pdf