October 13, 2022 News, Press Release

Civitas Networks for Health Announces Grant Award to Lead Implementation and Dissemination of Gravity Project® SDOH Standards  

Advancing infrastructure to support public health, health systems, and community organizations

Jolie Ritzo, Senior Director of Network Engagement 

Civitas Networks for Health 





Washington, DC — Today Civitas Networks for Health announced that the non-profit national organization has received a ~$1M award from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to further the implementation and dissemination of Gravity Project social determinants of health (SDOH) standards.

When Civitas launched in Oct. 2021 through the formal affiliation of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement and the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative, the newly formed organization set a goal to seek grant funding for programs that are strategically aligned with the work of its members and key priority areas for the national network and industry in advancing health equity through data-driven health improvement and information exchange.

Civitas also recently announced a letter of intent with the Gravity Project and Health Level 7® International (HL7®). In addition to being a national multistakeholder collaborative, Gravity Project is an HL7 Fast Health Interoperability Resources (FHIR) Accelerator. HL7 convenes and works with communities and implementers with an interest in using FHIR to address common use cases through the FHIR Accelerator program. Civitas plans to partner with the parties on implementation, dissemination, and learning communities.

Civitas Networks for Health Board Chair and CEO of Contexture Melissa Kotrys said, “The opportunities this award brings are so well aligned with the Civitas mission and future direction. We strongly support the advancement of SDOH data exchange, standards, and social care through our network of health data and information exchange implementers across the country.”

“We are grateful for the support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) which will help communities leverage existing health data and interoperability infrastructure and strengthen learning communities to accelerate adoption of Gravity Project standards,” notes Civitas CEO Lisa Bari. “The Gravity Community has long said that we may identify social risks in clinical settings, but we solve them in communities. Now that the Gravity Project has crafted data standards to identify and address social risks, we must support communities with
sustainable and equitable implementation. We are thankful that Civitas, with support from RWJF, will offer direct support to communities central in this work,” highlights Sarah DeSilvey,
Director of Terminology, for the Gravity Project.

Civitas will partner closely with Gravity Project leadership to support implementation work already underway and to build on the tremendous work that has been accomplished by the national collaborative to date.

The 12-month project which kicks off Nov. 1, 2022, will provide opportunity for shared learning, training and technical assistance, and in-person multi-stakeholder convenings. Civitas will center presentations and learning opportunities around the project at its 2023 Annual Conference which will be held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National
Harbor, Maryland. The event will take place from Aug. 20-23, 2023. Civitas recently held their first hybrid Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The event attracted over 800 in-person and virtual attendees and was focused on advancing health equity through data-led collaboratives and health information exchange.


About Civitas Networks for Health
Civitas Networks for Health is a national collaborative comprised of member organizations working to use health information exchange, health data, and multi-stakeholder, cross-sector approaches to improve health. Civitas was previously known as the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative and the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement, and today represents more than 180 local health innovators from across the US, moving data to improve health outcomes for more than 95% of the U.S. population. Civitas educates, promotes, and influences both the private sector and policy makers on matters of interoperability, quality, coordination, health equity, and cost-effectiveness of health care. Working with health innovators at state and local levels, Civitas facilitates the exchange of valuable resources, tools, and ideas—and offers a national perspective on upcoming standards and regulations, emerging technologies, and best practices. For more information, visit https://www.civitasforhealth.org/

About Gravity Project
The Gravity Project (Gravity) was launched in January 2019 by the Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network (SIREN) and EMI Advisors with funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Gravity became an HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability (FHIR) Accelerator Project in August 2019 to advance the availability and use of SDOH data using FHIR-based Application Program Interfaces (APIs). Gravity was created in response to the need of health systems to document, exchange, and use structured and coded individual-level social risk and social needs data. It is a multi-stakeholder public collaborative of 2,000+ participants from across the health and human services ecosystem focused on developing, testing, and validating standardized SDOH data for use in patient care, care coordination between health and human services sectors, population health management, public health, value-based payment, and clinical research.