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NORC examines the impact of interpersonal, community, and system-level factors on health outcomes.

Policymakers and practitioners increasingly recognize that health outcomes are driven by more than encounters with the health-care system alone. A complex array of often interconnected factors such as housing, transportation, food security, built environments, and social connectedness influence health status, access to care, and care-seeking behavior. This reality in turn affects both the impact of health-care interventions and approaches to measuring them. Frameworks that account for the complexity of social drivers of health by integrating often siloed data sources are critical to designing programs that address health care needs and to understanding their impact.

NORC researchers have expertise constructing integrated datasets and applying multi-level frameworks to foster the design and evaluation of health-care programs and policies that account for the social drivers of health.

NORC’s evaluations of Medicare ACO models incorporate measures of beneficiaries’ social needs and providers’ approaches to addressing them and examine their relationship to population health outcomes. NORC data scientists have also helped AHRQ curate social determinants of health variables from various federal and other publicly available data sources to be used in research and policy analysis. NORC also leads a suicide prevention study for the Department of Veterans Affairs that uses a social-ecological framework that considers individual, relationship, community, and societal factors that affect veterans’ risk for suicide.

Social Drivers of Health Experts

Highlighted Projects

AstraZeneca Foundation Evaluation & Technical Assistance

Supporting the AstraZeneca Foundation’s new health equity program


AstraZeneca Foundation

Integrating Environmental Barriers into Maps of Food Access

Calculating the impact of hyperlocal climate and other environmental factors on ‘Real Feel’ food access


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)