SONNET Project: Gander-Vupputuri

SONNET is a national network of applied researchers who help design, evaluate, and implement effective social health interventions to improve member health across Kaiser Permanente. SONNET's work is made possible with funding from KP's National Community Health Program.

Social determinants of health and racial/ethnic disparities (SO HEARD) in hypertension, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease 

Project Team 

  • Jennifer Gander, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator 
    KP Georgia Center for Research and Evaluation 

  • Suma Vupputuri, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator 
    KP Mid-Atlantic Permanente Research Institute 

Project Summary  

Hypertension, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease (CKD) continue to cause substantial morbidity and mortality and disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic adults compared to White Americans. Social determinants of health (SDoH) have been shown to significantly impact the development and management of these conditions, however, few studies have disentangled the relationship between social factors and race/ethnicity comprehensively. In order to address this gap, Drs. Suma Vupputuri and Jennifer Gander are conducting the study called “Social determinants of health and racial/ethnic disparities (SO HEARD) in hypertension, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease.”  The specific aims of SO HEARD are to: (1) explore social determinants of health (SDoH) among those with and without hypertension, diabetes, and CKD, by race/ethnicity; and (2) use an advanced statistical approach called the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition method, to ascertain the contribution of SDoH, individually and in aggregate, to the race/ethnicity disparity in hypertension, diabetes, and CKD. 

The results of SO HEARD could have a significant impact on Kaiser Permanente (KP) chronic disease management programs where addressing racial/ethnic disparities is a priority. SO HEARD will provide disease management teams with specific evidence-based social factor targets that they can consider addressing in our members. Further, the descriptive findings from SO HEARD on the distribution of social determinants of health in the 3 cohorts will highlight the need for disease outreach programs to include more socially vulnerable communities. Drs. Vupputuri and Gander will engage clinical leadership and stakeholders at KP to position the SO HEARD study findings in an actionable framework at both the national and regional levels.


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