Applications open for Physicians Foundation grant, fellowship focused on SDOH innovation

The Physicians Foundation has opened applications for a grant award and fellowship program aimed at helping drive awareness and best practices around the social determinants of health (SDOH).

A 2022 survey by the organization found that more than 6 in 10 doctors feel they have little time or are unable to address SDOH, though nearly all agree they impact patient outcomes. The latest grant and fellowship programs are directly tied to solutions that doctors suggested in that survey, like standardizing patient screenings and connecting patients with community resources.

Medical association grant

The grant is meant for medical associations seeking to develop capacity, resources and data collection that support physicians in their understanding of SDOH and integration into their practices as a regular part of patient care. Up to five organizations will be selected and awarded up to $75,000 each.

Medical associations have a pulse on local patient populations and can offer important insights to customize SDOH screening and resource navigation at medical practices. The foundation hopes the information learned during the program can bolster associations’ future policy efforts related to community capacity, admin burden and creating financial incentives for doctors.

Applicants should want to engage in yearlong activities of the grant program, the foundation said. They should also be able to recruit a group of eager doctors to integrate or enhance SDOH screenings and resource navigation as well as offer feedback and data related to that process.

Applicant associations should also be in a state or region primed for addressing SDOH. They will be asked to identify existing lists of community resources for doctors to use for referring their patient to resources.

Grantees will be able to participate in virtual grantee gatherings, a community platform and educational sessions.

“As the U.S. healthcare system works to address drivers of health, it is imperative to engage the perspectives of individuals who work every day to advance solutions for improved patient care,” Gary Price, M.D., president of The Physicians Foundation, said in a press release.

Previous grant recipients helped medical practices implement standardized SDOH screenings, created platforms to access resources and developed training programs for addressing SDOH. 

Applications for the grant are due Sept. 18.

Physician fellowship

The fellowship aims to strengthening doctors’ leadership skills for the benefit of the provider-patient relationship. These skills can also support the sustainability of medical practices and help them navigate the changing healthcare system.

The fellow will develop and implement a project that supports doctors in their understanding of SDOH and integration into medical practices, the foundation said. They will receive counsel from fellowship mentors, members of the foundation’s board of directors and collaborating organizations, like the Center for the Study of Physician Practice and Leadership at Weill Cornell Medicine.

The fellow will be expected to participate in media interviews and speaking engagements and publish articles and social media content related to the project. A report on the project’s outcomes will be displayed on the foundation’s website. The fellow will be awarded a Certificate of Physician Leadership upon completion of the program. 

Applicants should be new or early-career physicians who demonstrate experience or interest in SDOH, leadership, health policy, health equity and care delivery innovation. The fellow will get a 12-month stipend of $24,000. One fellow will be selected. The deadline is Sept. 19.

“As the Physicians Foundation’s inaugural Fellow, I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity to support physicians in addressing drivers of health and grow my skills as a physician and leader,” Ryan Lowery, M.D., the 2022-2023 fellow, said in a press release. “The Fellowship Program is truly a one-of-a-kind experience, and I encourage any physician passionate about DOH and improving health equity to seize this opportunity.”