The Center for Health Affairs Launches Groundbreaking Social Determinants of Health Innovation Hub in Cleveland Powered by Amazon Web Services

Industry: Healthcare

The Center & AWS, a world leading cloud computing offering, will work with community leaders to address the leading factors impacting the health of local residents.

Cleveland, OH (PRUnderground) February 23rd, 2023

What began quietly two years ago culminates today in a transformational collaboration between The Center for Health Affairs, the 107-year-old convener of healthcare and community organizations, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), to establish the world’s first and only Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Innovation Hub. The objective: to start locally and move globally to address structural racism and poverty that result in gun violence, behavioral health crises, and a myriad of other factors negatively impacting the health of local residents.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Cleveland has the highest poverty rate among large U.S. cities. With more than 114,000 people living in poverty in 2019, including 37,700 children and nearly 12,000 adults, these individuals face daily challenges related to violence, lack of digital connections, housing, food, access to medical care and behavioral health providers, unemployment, and so much more. All of these economic and social conditions that influence health outcomes are known as SDOH, and their impact is often under-represented in traditional diagnoses.

“We are honored to work with AWS to generate critical insights about eliminating disparities experienced by people in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio,” said Brian Lane, president & CEO of The Center for Health Affairs. “The platform The Center is building will drive valuable insights to initially work with local community leaders and residents, policymakers, provider organizations, researchers and business leaders to demonstrate outcomes, identify improvements and begin to reshape Cleveland’s programs and policies. Using our historic models of success, our hope is the SDOH Innovation Hub will then serve global communities facing similar social determinants of health issues.”

Root causes of these SDOH challenges are structural racism and poverty; and The Center is committed to finding solutions for these very complex social and economic issues using next generation technology. Tackling SDOH challenges requires accurate and insightful data, which can be complex and costly to collect and analyze. The cloud capabilities will enable the rapid analysis of heterogenous data from hundreds of local partner organizations using AWS’s compute, storage, machine learning, and other services to determine patterns and indicators that will better inform health action and policies. The platform will analyze data that AWS does not have access to or control. The insights will be used by a consortium of commercial and public sector healthcare and research organizations.

The Center and individuals who represent local businesses, nonprofit organizations, government officials, community residents, and policymakers are serving as advisors to drive action informed by the data. Over time, the Hub will use learnings to address the impact of environmental factors on marginalized communities, the creation of jobs and training, and making investment decisions that focus on underserved neighborhoods and their residents. AWS has provided The Center with computing credits and technical expertise to advance the project.

Using data from local and global sources, the SDOH Hub is first addressing the behavioral health precursors to gun violence. The SDOH Hub will then find solutions in areas that include:

  • Climate Change
  • Access to Health Care
  • Maternal and Infant Deaths
  • Digital Connectivity
  • Education and Workforce Development
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Urban Development (Smart Cities)
  • Housing
  • Transportation

“AWS is delighted to bring our depth and breadth of cloud capabilities to help make Ohio’s Social Determinants of Health Innovation Hub a technical reality,” said Jon Jones, Vice President, Worldwide Specialist Organization at AWS. “The factors that impact health are many and complex. We are glad to support this important effort by bringing the security, scale, and power of the cloud and leading edge machine learning technology to help transform the massive and diverse data sets used in SDoH into actionable insights that will support thriving communities and more equitable health outcomes.”

“We are encouraged by the desire for collaboration from a wide range of partners, including technologists, to address community health needs,” stated Cleveland Mayor Justin M. Bibb. “Using technology to help solve the root causes of gun violence is a potential tool in the comprehensive toolbox necessary to develop real and effective solutions that will positively impact our great city and the surrounding region.”

The Center recognizes that the initial three-year commitment to finding solutions for SDOH issues will not erase structural racism or completely reduce poverty overnight. Yet, it is the start of building an impactful model that solves complex social problems people face every day.

About The Center for Health Affairs

As the nation’s first regional hospital association, The Center for Health Affairs serves as the collective voice and leading advocate for 38 hospitals across 10 counties in Northeast Ohio. Dating back over 100 years, The Center aims to enhance the effectiveness of the healthcare community and the health of the communities it serves by providing expertise, resources and solutions to address the challenges currently being faced by the region’s healthcare providers. The Center’s efforts focus on areas in which member hospitals and their communities can benefit from a regional approach, including emergency preparedness; public policy and advocacy; finance and reimbursement; and community health. Learn more at

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