Community Health Centers Leveraging the Social Determinants of Health

Health starts in our homes, schools, and jobs. Yet many people do not have the same opportunities to be as healthy as others. Community Health Centers Leveraging the Social Determinants of Health charts a path forward for the many health care providers who feel powerless to address the social, economic, and physical conditions that underlie and shape their patients’ health. 

IAF's project and report offers leaders in community health centers, public health, and policy an understanding of how health care providers can move beyond health care services alone to care for the whole person and their community.

On this page you can find:

:: The full report, and a 2-page handout about the project.
:: Case studies of selected community health centers and their efforts.
:: A literature review that IAF commissioned from the Clinical Directors Network.
:: A unique database of examples from many community health centers.

We also invite you to nominate or submit additional examples for the database.

The Report

IAF's Community Health Centers Leveraging the Social Determinants of Health Report


A report on patterns of activity, lessons from experience, and recommendations for moving forward for CHCs and other health care providers in leveraging the social determinants of health

IAF's approach to understanding and creating the future calls for communities and organizations to identify what they think is likely and more importantly what they prefer. This report presents a unique look at the potential for improving population health along with analysis and recommendations to help health care providers and communities work toward their preferred future.

Community Health Centers Leveraging the Social Determinants of Health grew out of our commitment to identifying the most promising advances for bringing health gains to the poor and underserved and to accelerate the development and deployment of these advances to reduce disparities. In partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers and with support from the Kresge Foundation, IAF has developed this report, a database of efforts, case studies, and a set of recommendations for CHCs and others on how to support and expand efforts to leverage the social determinants of health.

For a 2-page handout about the project and report, please click here

We also commissioned a literature review from the Clinical Directors Network.



IAF has developed a database of specific efforts, programs, and activities by community health centers to leverage the social determinants of health. This collection offers an unprecedented opportunity to systematically review these efforts.


:: Explore the database ::

The map below depicts the location of all organizations in IAF's database, as of March 22, 2012. We will periodically update the map and the database with cases submitted to us through the forms provided at the end of this page.


Case Studies

How do these health care provider organizations do it all? What inspires them to leverage the social determinants of health? How do they fund their efforts and what kind of impact do they create? To answer these and other questions, IAF has developed case studies of 10 community health centers and their efforts to leverage the social determinants of health:

Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Ridgeland, South Carolina

Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, El Paso, Texas

Community Health Partners, Livingston, Montana

Hudson River HealthCare, Peekskill, New York

Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center, New York, New York

Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services, Honolulu, Hawaii

La ClĂ­nica de La Raza, Oakland, California

La Maestra Community Health Centers, San Diego, California

Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Seattle, Washington

Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Leveraging the SDH, Too? Let's Hear About It.

We welcome additional examples to be included in the database, where one or more organization involved in the effort is an FQHC or FQHC Look-Alike community health center, a free clinic, an Indian Health Service clinic, or a medical practice serving low-income and medically underserved populations.

You can share your information with us in two ways:

:: Submit a Case :: Tell us about the effort(s).

:: Nominate a Case :: We'll contact the organization to learn more.

We are not cataloging the effective and important efforts that fall under health care services, medical outreach, or accessibility services to connect patients to health care. Rather, we are looking for efforts that change conditions in the community and environment in order to improve health.  These efforts may focus on housing, education, jobs, income, social exclusion (isolation, racism), parenting, neighborhood safety, transportation, food quality and availability, activity and recreational opportunities.