Why focus on the Social Economic and Behavioral Needs (SEBN) of our members? It's about health equity. Kaiser Permanente's vision and goal are focused to identify and understand the root cause behind health disparities. As an organization, Kaiser Permanente is committed to improving an individual's overall well-being and total health.

    Kaiser Permanente's Vision:

    In partnership with communities, KP should identify and address individuals' most pressing basic human needs as a standard part of quality healthcare and to achieve health equity.

    Kaiser Permanente's Goal:

    KP will devise and execute on a plan that addresses the Social, Economic, and Behavioral Needs of KP members to achieve better health at lower cost.

In an article that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Kaiser Permanente physicians in Southern California discuss efforts focused on members' unmet social needs as part of their total health. The authors note that social, environmental, and behavioral factors account for an estimated 60% of health, in contrast to 10% from factors traditionally defined as clinical.

How do we define SEBN?

Among the broad array of SEBN, SONNET focuses primarily on basic resource needs such as food, housing, transportation, utilities, and medication costs.

Healthy People 2020 Apporach to Social Determinants of Health

    Healthy People 2020 defined the following five areas of social determinants of health (SDOH):

    Health and health care

    Access to care/primary care, health literacy.

    Economic stability

    Poverty, employment, food insecurity, housing instability...

    Social and community context

    Social cohesion, civic participation, discrimination, incarceration.

Neighborhood and built environment

Access to healthy foods, quality of housing, crime and violence, environmental conditions.


High school graduation, enrollment in higher education, language and literacy, early childhood education and development...

Social and Behavioral Domains and Measures:

  • Race/ethnicity
  • Education
  • Financial-resource strain
  • Behavioral health (depression and stress)
  • Physical activity
  • Tobacco and alcohol use
  • Social connection or isolation
  • Intimate-partner violence
  • Behavioral health (depression and stress)
  • “Place-based” social and environmental factors