Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Making the Case for Investing in Social Determinants of Health Interventions by Rural Providers

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

September 21, 2018


Central NY





It has been long recognized that social, behavioral, and environmental factors outside the health care system—the social determinants of health —influence health and wellbeing.

Rates of chronic disease and mortality in rural communities are especially affected by housing, the economy, and transportation. It is crucial that health care providers and community-based organizations collaborate to better address the root causes of poor health among rural populations in New York State. However, insufficient research on the social determinants of health in rural populations has been a barrier to cross-sector collaboration. As the shift from fee-based to value-based health payments continues, more research will help build the case for investing in intervention programs to improve health outcomes. In 2018, NYHealth awarded the Rural Health Network of South Central New York a grant to better promote the effectiveness of interventions to address social determinants of health in rural communities.

Under this grant, the Rural Health Network assessed and improved how rural community-based organizations collect data on social determinants of health projects. It conducted a pilot study to determine the effectiveness of specific interventions and their impact on a rural population. Rural Health Network also provided resources and training to rural community-based organizations, as well as educated managed care organizations and health care providers on the return on investment from contracting with these organizations to address social determinants of health. This project positioned rural community-based organizations and health providers to better demonstrate the value that social determinants of health interventions have on outcomes and costs and made the case for investment through value-based payment funding.

Watch a series of video interviews with the leaders of small and rural community organizations and service providers on their experience with measuring social determinants of health, engaging in New York State’s Medicaid redesign, and preparing for value-based payment opportunities.