Gravity Project Grant

The Gravity Project Receives Grant to Standardize How Health Care Organizations Collect Data on Housing and Other Social Factors

Washington D.C. (September 11, 2020) - The Gravity Project, a national public collaborative designed to standardize health data used to identify social determinants of health (SDOH), has received a $25,000 grant from the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF). The grant supports development of standards for how health care organizations collect and exchange data on patients’ risk factors related to housing instability and homelessness.

“We know that being homeless is dangerous to a person’s health,” said Hong Truong, senior program investment officer at CHCF. “But there is still a lot more our health care system has to learn about how to best serve people struggling with housing instability. Better data standards like the kind the Gravity Project promotes are critical to aggregating more information, advancing that learning, and ultimately improving the services that people at risk receive.”

The Gravity Project, initiated by the Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network (SIREN) in collaboration with EMI Advisors LLC, works to help the health care system and related sectors standardize how they capture and share data related to social risks. Having standardized, reliable data about the social risks that patients face is critical to the ability of health care and social service providers to meet people’s needs both in and outside of the doctor’s office. Those data are also important to advancing research efforts to better understand the health effects of social risks and how to best address them.

Since May 2019, over 1,100 stakeholders in health care, health IT, community-based organizations, federal and state agencies, and consumer advocacy groups have registered as members of the Gravity Project.“The COVID-19 pandemic viscerally exhibits the link between a public health crisis and social risk factors, particularly the resulting employment reductions and subsequent economic and housing instability, including homelessness,” said Evelyn Gallego, CEO of EMI Advisors and Program Manager of the Gravity Project. “Our partnership with CHCF promotes the crucial development of the Housing Instability and Homelessness domain data elements; we are now closer to getting medical and human service professionals to use coded SDOH concepts to document and guide the care they deliver to the individuals that need it most.”

About the California Health Care Foundation

The California Health Care Foundation is dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way the health care delivery system provides care to the people of California, particularly those with low incomes and those whose needs are not well served by the status quo. We work to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.

About the Gravity Project

Launched in May 2019 by the Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network (SIREN) with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Gravity Project is a national public collaborative that is developing structured data standards to help reduce current barriers for documenting and exchanging social risk and protective factors within health care and other sectors.

The Gravity Project convenes stakeholders across the globe—now more than 1,100 people—through an open and transparent collaborative process where they develop and test standards to facilitate social determinants of health (SDOH) data capture and exchange across a variety of systems and settings of care and social services.