Integration of Medical and Social Care Clinical Trial Interventions

May 2021 Council

Lead Division/Office


Point(s) of Contact

Pamela L. Thornton, Ph.D.; Mary Evans, Ph.D.; Jenna M. Norton, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Executive Summary

Exposure to health impeding social determinants of health (SDOH) contributes to poor obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease outcomes. Adverse SDOH disproportionately affect economically disadvantaged and minority populations and contribute to the avoidable health inequities that characterize NIDDK disease areas. In the wake of the COVID 19-fueled economic crisis—and co-occurring sociopolitical events that have driven growing awareness of systemic racism—it is critically important to accelerate strategic efforts to address SDOH and advance the science of health equity. The United States is currently experiencing a transition to value-based payment models that incentivize health settings to treat the “whole person,” including SDOH and related social risks. This transition represents an opportunity to effectively address SDOH through novel healthcare delivery models that extend medical care beyond clinic walls into community contexts. However, evidence for how to address social risks via healthcare settings is lacking and current implementation strategies vary across healthcare delivery contexts. The proposed initiative would establish a NIDDK pilot program as the Institute’s initial steps to systematically advance the science of medical and social care interventions to address patients’ social risks through linkages with community partners. This program is complementary with existing NIDDK efforts in health equity to strategically move toward advancing the field.