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ROOTS: Roles Outside Of Traditional Systems

Safety net clinics have long played a role in addressing the social determinants of health (SDOH). The origins of this effort can be traced back to the pioneering work on community-oriented primary care developed over a generation ago. This work emerged in conjunction with the development of clinics in the U.S., and made strong links between clinical practice and community action. Today efforts to transform the healthcare system are increasingly moving beyond clinical walls to address the SDOH. This move has also broadened the focus from providing health care services to addressing overall health and equity of communities.

The shift in payment from fee-based services reimbursed by volume to a system that rewards value (defined by improvements in health and outcomes) has created opportunities and interest in focusing on population health. At the same time, in the age of big data and an increased development of health care oriented data tools, there is new call for clinics to collect and find ways to use data to improve health at both the individual and population-level. But clinics cannot address SDOH alone. There is a need to develop innovative partnerships and long-term solutions using data to address medical, behavioral and social needs and address the upstream factors impacting health.

The Center for Care Innovations (CCI), in partnership with the Blue Shield of California Foundation, is launching the Roles Outside Of Traditional Systems (or ROOTS) program to provide a renewed focus and opportunity to test and adapt this approach in today’s healthcare environment, building on activities already underway in clinics across California. It provides a route for clinics to apply their assets, expertise, and credibility to the challenge of creating environments that support health and equity. It also provides a forum to experiment and begin to clarify the role of clinics in addressing SDOH.

ROOTS Participants

Organization Name Location
Asian Health Services Oakland
LAC+USC Medical Center, Primary Care Adult Clinics Los Angeles
LifeLong Medical Care Berkeley
Northeast Valley Health Corporation San Fernando
Petaluma Health Center Inc., Petaluma
St. John’s Well Child and Family Center Los Angeles
West County Health Centers Guerneville

ROOTS Program Activities and Timeline

Application Timeline

  • May 2017: Access slides and recording from the Informational Webinar, as well as the RFA.
  • June 2017: Applications due
  • July 28, 2017: Grant awards recommendations announced
  • September 14, 2017: Access slides and recording from the Virtual Kickoff Webinar.


Webinars are opportunities for organizations to learn from a mix of expert training and peer sharing on topics identified throughout the program.

  • December 7, 2017: Webinar #2
  • February 9, 2018: Webinar #3
  • May 4, 2018: Webinar #4
  • July 6, 2018: Webinar #5

In-Person Sessions

These full-day sessions allowed organizations to learn from experts and peers.

  • October 5, 2017: In-person Learning Session #1 in Berkeley, CA
  • March 2018: In-person Learning Session #2 in Los Angeles, CA
  • August 2018: In-Person Learning Session #3

Site Visits

ROOTS participant organizations have the opportunity to attend one inspirational visit to a health center demonstrating best practices in social determinant of health work. The site visit is expected to occur in November 2017.

End of ROOTS Program: August 31, 2018