Indiana State Medical Association, Purdue announce landmark effort to address social drivers of health

A new collaboration between the Indiana State Medical Association and Purdue University seeks to enlist local physicians as points of contact to steer patients to social services where needed. (

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Indiana State Medical Association and Purdue University have launched an unprecedented partnership to address social factors affecting health within the state.

The National Academy of Medicine estimates that 80% of health outcomes are determined not by medical care but by social drivers of health (SDOH) – economic and sociological factors such as income, education levels, early childhood development, access to healthy food, employment security, housing, access to health care, and social inclusion and nondiscrimination.

“Every physician knows that preventive care is the best way to avoid more serious health problems later,” said Dr. Genevieve Lankowicz, chair of the ISMA’s SDOH task force. “However, some of the most significant preventive steps take place not in a doctor’s office but in addressing social and economic factors that create barriers to good health.”

“Doctors want to do the right things to support the health of their patients but are often limited – by both knowledge and resources – to downstream interventions,” said former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, executive director of Purdue’s Health Equity Initiatives and Distinguished Professor of Practice. “This partnership between Purdue and the ISMA will serve as a catalyst to drive change in our health care practices for the most vulnerable communities across the state.”

The new collaboration will seek to enlist local physicians as points of contact to steer patients to social services where needed. The collaboration will focus initially on Delaware, Lake, Owen, Vanderburgh and Wayne counties – counties where data indicate a gap between health metrics and resources available to address them.

Purdue and the ISMA each have previously launched initiatives to address social drivers of health. Purdue began its Health Equity Initiatives program in 2021 to leverage the university’s expertise to address root causes of health disparities across the state of Indiana and throughout the nation. The ISMA program, funded by a grant from The Physicians Foundation, will provide a link to resources to help physicians and patients address SDOH issues.

The ISMA and Purdue will track the number of patients screened using the new tools and the number of referrals for additional services to address SDOH. If the program is successful, it may be expanded to additional counties.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last five years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

About the Indiana State Medical Association

The Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA) is a federation of county and district medical societies all across Indiana. With more than 9,500 physician and medical student members, the ISMA seeks to maximize the leadership and impact of physicians, make Indiana one of the best states in which to practice medicine, and make Hoosiers among the healthiest people in the country. Since 1849, the ISMA has educated physicians about scientific and clinical developments in medicine. Today, the organization engages in advocacy, offers continuing medical education (CME) for physicians, and provides other member programs and services. Other institutions and organizations earn accreditation from ISMA to provide their own CME programs for physicians. Learn more about the ISMA’s mission and history at

About The Physicians Foundation

The Physicians Foundation is a nonprofit seeking to advance the work of practicing physicians and help them facilitate the delivery of high-quality health care to patients. As the U.S. health care system continues to evolve, The Physicians Foundation is steadfast in strengthening the physician-patient relationship, supporting medical practices’ sustainability and helping physicians navigate the changing health care system. The Physicians Foundation pursues its mission through research, education and innovative grantmaking that improves physician wellbeing, strengthens physician leadership, addresses drivers of health and lifts physician perspectives. For more information, visit

Writers/Media contacts: Amy Raley,
Eric Berman,                                                             

Sources: Holly Wood,
Jerome Adams,
Genevieve Lankowicz,