What Is CDC Doing to Address Social Determinants of Health?

SDOH Social conditions chart

This graphic shows the six pillars of CDC’s work to address SDOH, which is depicted as the interplay of social and structural conditions, and that SDOH is one factor that contributes to overall equity.

Because health equity is a priority for CDC, the agency has taken multiple steps to ensure that efforts to address the social determinants of health (SDOH) are built into the agency’s work and not confined to a single program, CDC center, or public health topic.

In fall 2021, CDC leadership started an agencywide process to build and expand cross-cutting efforts to address SDOH.1 This effort was led by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) and resulted in a framework of six pillars:2

  • Data and surveillance: Embed a consistent SDOH approach to standardization, collection, analysis, and dissemination of data across the agency.
  • Evaluation and evidence building: Advance evaluation and build evidence for strategies that address SDOH to reduce disparities and promote health equity.
  • Partnerships and collaboration: Establish criteria, actionable steps, and strategies for partnerships, collaborations, and relationshipsthat result in improved health outcomes over the long term.
  • Community engagement: Foster meaningful, sustained community engagement across all phases of CDC intervention planning and implementation.
  • Infrastructure and capacity: Strengthen and sustain infrastructure such as workforce, training, and access to financial resources required to address SDOH and reduce health disparities.
  • Policy and law: Identify evidence, tools, and resources to enhance communication about policies that affect SDOH with policy makers and other stakeholders.

CDC is using this framework to help agency leadership make decisions about where to invest SDOH resources.


1. Prevention of Social Determinants of Health. Updated March 29, 2022. Accessed July 8, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/programs-impact/sdoh.htm

2. Social Needs and Social Determinants: The Role of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Public Health. Updated September 9, 2022. Accessed September 26, 2022.