NASDOH Publications
NASDOH Issue Briefs and White Papers

Equity and the COVID-19 Vaccine


Now that a COVID-19 vaccine is available, we continue to see challenges that impact getting the vaccine to those who need it most. Today, NASDOH releases our commentary on vaccine rollout implications related to SDOH and inequities that impact the country’s most vulnerable populations. The issue brief  identifies short- and long-term challenges and concrete steps that federal and local governments should take to ensure that those at the highest risk for COVID-19 infection, serious illness, and death are prioritized during the COVID-19 vaccination rollout and we are taking every opportunity to meet their needs where they are.

Opportunities to Advance SDOH Efforts Through Pooled Funding


This issue brief discusses how pooled funding is one mechanism to encourage cross-sector collaboration and ensure that a broad array of sectors jointly fund and share the benefits of SDOH investment. This brief highlights challenges that exist which inhibit pooled funding and provides 5 recommendations to the federal government to support collaborative SDOH investment and expand allowances for public fund pooling.

Waivers and Program Flexibilities: Lessons from COVID-19


NASDOH published its third issue brief in a series that discusses how key SDOH-related issues have been exacerbated during COVID-19. “Waivers and Program Flexibilities: Lessons from COVID-19” highlights the importance of federal health and social programs flexibilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic to meet social need, summarizes key reasons to retain and expand certain waivers and program flexibilities implemented during the public health emergency, and provides a set of recommendations to optimize use of waivers and program flexibilities.

Policy Recommendations for the Biden Administration


NASDOH released a set of eight policy recommendations to the Biden administration that set forth a bold leadership agenda on SDOH and highlight several specific actions that can be taken under each area. NASDOH looks forward to working together with the Biden administration to establish SDOH as a new national priority and advance actionable policy solutions.

Public Health and SDOH Integration Issue Brief


In this issue brief, NASDOH explores how the public health sector is uniquely positioned to assist at the intersection of public health and both social needs and social determinants of health (SDOH), both during the current public health emergency and moving forward. The issue brief provides policy recommendations to support these public health efforts adequately. This is the second in a series of NASDOH commentaries and issue papers NASDOH will publish addressing key SDOH-related issues that have been exacerbated during COVID-19.

Social Determinants of Health Data Interoperability Concept Paper


In this concept paper, NASDOH, with the guidance from the work of the CARIN Alliance, outlines key opportunities to enable an interoperable data ecosystem where social needs information is shared seamlessly, privately, securely, and with consent to address individuals’ needs effectively and impact SDOH upstream.

NASDOH Commentary: SDOH Issues in COVID-19


In this commentary, NASDOH addresses key SDOH-related issues that have been exacerbated during COVID-19, including systemic inequity that makes communities of color most vulnerable to poor health outcomes. We discuss several areas where the nation should learn from our COVID-19 experience and address the root causes of disparities in order to improve health and reduce the impact of future public health crises and other emergencies.

In the coming months, NASDOH will release a series of commentaries and issue papers addressing the key issues in more depth and, where possible, describing what we have learned.

NASDOH Year in Review 2019


This report provides a summary of the work of the National Alliance to impact the Social Determinants of Health (NASDOH) in 2019. This past year, NASDOH continued to work towards our mission of making material improvements in the lives of individuals and communities and, through multi-sector partnerships, advancing holistic, value-based, person-centered care that successfully impacts the SDOH.

This report was made possible through the support and engagement of NASDOH members.

Identifying Social Risk and Needs in Health Care


NASDOH has released the first in a series of issue briefs designed to address key issues and advance our national efforts to address social determinants of health. Foundational to addressing the social determinants of health is the identification of social risk through screening tools, which is the subject of this first brief.

Shared Principles for Measuring Social Determinants of Health Interventions


As efforts to assess and address the SDOH increase, there is a pressing need to develop ways to measure the impact of such efforts and to hold systems accountable for progress. Prospectively aligning measures of success for SDOH interventions will enable comparisons across demonstrations or programs, reduce the burden of data collection, and provide useful evidence to support a sustainable business model for addressing the SDOH. NASDOH’s newly released white paper outlines framing principles to guide social determinants of health (SDOH) measurement development that, if adopted, can help organizations and sectors work collaboratively to align around a shared measurement framework.




NASDOH has developed a one-pager that highlights the importance, as well as the opportunities, of supporting state innovation and policies that address social determinants of health in the Medicaid environment.

Healthy People and Healthy Communities: Defining SDOH


NASDOH supports the Healthy People 2020 definition of the social determinants of health as the “conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.”  See our one pager for more information on how health outcomes strongly relate to these upstream social determinants of health, and to economic vitality and business competitiveness, personal achievement, and prosperity.

Getting to Health and Well-being for the Nation


The National Alliance to impact the Social Determinants of Health (NASDOH) has released a new white paper providing insights in to their action plan to systematically create a supportive policy environment to address social determinants of health. The paper introduces NASDOH’s plans to bring clarity to the current understanding of the issues, challenges, and opportunities for the health care system to address social determinants in concert with communities and the public and private sector.

NASDOH Blog Posts and Articles

Fierce Healthcare Industry Voices: Building it right from the beginning: Measuring the impact of SDOH interventions

by Governor Mike Leavitt and Dr. Karen DeSalvo (2019)

NASDOH co-conveners, Governor Mike Leavitt and Karen DeSalvo, discuss the importance of a common measurement approach to understand the most effective interventions and establish best practices for addressing SDOH.  In this opinion piece, they argue that prospectively aligning the national approach to measuring interventions now will accelerate our understanding of opportunities to improve the health and well-being of people and communities.


Health Affairs Blog Post: For An Option To Address Social Determinants Of Health, Look To Medicaid

by Governor Mike Leavitt and Dr. Karen DeSalvo (2019)

NASDOH co-conveners, Governor Mike Leavitt and Karen DeSalvo, highlight where and how Medicaid programs provide key opportunities to address social needs , and where there are opportunities to accelerate state innovation to address SDOH in their Health Affairs blog post.


Modern Healthcare Guest Commentary: Value-based care’s success hinges on attention to social determinants

by Governor Mike Leavitt and Dr. Karen DeSalvo (2017)

NASDOH co-conveners, Governor Mike Leavitt and Karen DeSalvo, discuss the importance of addressing the social determinants of health to effectively transform and improve health care and health outcomes in a Modern Healthcare opinion piece. The article highlights the need for a unifying force that includes public, private, technology, and business sectors to successfully address social determinants of health.

External Publications

We share a selection of recently published reports and articles on SDOH relevant topics. 


National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (2019)

This report investigates the potential for integrating social care services and SDOH interventions into the delivery of health care as part of a strategy to achieve better health outcomes. This report identifies approaches  to social care integration currently being used, and new or emerging approaches and opportunities; and current and emerging efforts to design and implement health care systems which will improve the nation’s health and reduce health inequities.

Good Health Is Good Business: The Value Proposition of Partnerships Between Businesses and Governmental Public Health Agencies to Improve Community Health

Bipartisan Policy Center (2019)

This Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) report addresses the value proposition for governmental public health agencies and business to collaborate to advance the health of people and communities to further well-being and economic prosperity.  This report addresses the challenges and opportunities for important public-health-business partnerships and the benefits each sector brings.