Request for Applications

New director for the Social Needs Network for Evaluation and Translation

This Request for Applications (RFA) solicits applications from Kaiser Permanente (KP) researchers or evaluators who would like to become the new director (principal investigator) of the national coordinating center for the Social Needs Network for Evaluation and Translation (SONNET).


SONNET is a learning network of researchers and evaluators committed to helping KP leaders and front-line clinicians design and evaluate interventions that address our members’ social needs. The network was established in 2017 with support from KP National Community Health. Since that time, John F Steiner, MD, MPH has been SONNET’s director and his home institution, the Institute for Health Research in KP Colorado (KPCO), has been the lead site. Funding supports researchers and evaluators from the regional KP research departments with areas of expertise required for SONNET. These experts are members of the SONNET Steering Committee (SC). Areas of expertise are:

  • measurement of social needs
  • intervention design and outcomes
  • staff and community engagement
  • advanced analytics

KPCO currently subcontracts with researchers and evaluators from KP Northwest, KP Southern California, and KP Washington. Other experts join our SC from KP’s Care Management Institute, operational leadership in KP Northwest, and the Social Interventions Research & Evaluation Network, a network of academic researchers supported by KP and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In addition to working closely with the SC, SONNET has Executive Sponsors who provide strategic direction, identify national trends inside and outside of KP, and help raise the network’s visibility. In particular, Elizabeth McGlynn, PhD, the Vice President for Research, uses her role as one of SONNET’s Executive Sponsors to maintain a close connection between SONNET, the National Research Council, and the KP National Research Strategy.

SONNET’s accountable executive, Anand Shah, MD, MS, has charged the network with using this year to prepare for a leadership transition, since John Steiner will step down as SONNET director on December 31, 2020. To have a successful transition, we seek applications to start onboarding a new site and new director. We have funding available this year to support the transition.

Responsibilities of the Lead Site

Priority responsibilities for SONNET’s lead site include:

  • Houses the director and SONNET’s administrative core, which currently includes the director and staff who support SONNET operations. We’ve included information about these positions here. In consultation with Dr. Shah, we recognize that a new director may choose to organize the local team differently.

    • Director’s role (40%FTE):
      • With Executive Sponsors and the SC, sets the overall strategic direction for SONNET which includes alignment and support for KP’s program-wide efforts in Social Health Practice (designing and delivering a consistent and effective member experience for those with social needs; see Appendix for information about KP’s Social Health framework)
      • With guidance and advocacy from Executive Sponsors and the SC, regularly presents information about SONNET to audiences within and outside of KP
      • Maintains close relationships with the KP research community by bringing opportunities for specific research and evaluation studies noted above to KP’s National Research Council and particular KP investigators and facilitating relationships with clinical and operational leaders in Program Office as appropriate
      • Consults with KP executives at all levels on the design, conduct, and evaluation of social needs interventions:
        • explains SONNET’s role and the consultation the network can provide through the director and/or members of the SC
        • advocates for rigorous design and evaluation of all KP’s social needs interventions
        • serves on advisory committees for social health measurement and intervention programs and provides guidance in all areas of intervention design and evaluation
        • sets expectations about what executives can expect from evaluation results
        • sets expectations about what requests go beyond SONNET’s core funding and when additional funding is required
        • identifies programs of particular interest to SONNET SC members and other KP researchers and facilitates leadership of other KP researchers in evaluating those programs
      • Aligns SONNET activities with the Social Interventions Research & Evaluation Network (SIREN) to link social health initiatives between KP and other academic and community settings
      • Travels approximately four times per year on SONNET business, primarily to KP Program Office in Oakland

    • Project staff:
      • SONNET support has included funds for staff to help conduct the business of the network. Generally, these functions have included: agenda-setting and administration for meetings with the accountable executive, executive sponsors, and the SC; maintaining the SONNET website; contributing to, formatting, and disseminating “SONNET products” such as newsletters, preliminary reports, manuscripts for publication
      • There is an understanding that a new director may organize the local team differently to meet SONNET needs in 2021 and beyond
  • Holds the prime contract from KP Community Health, with administrative support including:
    • 15% indirect costs for the lead and participating sites

Important Dates

8/03/2020 RFA Released
  • Released on: Monday, August 3, 2020
08/03/2020 - 08/21/2020 Optional one-on-one call with SONNET’s current director, John F Steiner, MD, MPH, Senior Investigator, at KPCO Institute for Health Research
  • Contact John Steiner at: to arrange a date & time.
  • Schedule your call between: Monday, 8/3/2020 – Friday, 8/21/2020

Must be received by 5 PM Mountain Time
Submit an application using the RFA packet below
  • Email : -- If you plan to apply, please include the following:
    • your KP region
    • potential director’s name
    • degree designation
    • position in the KP research center
    • letter of support from KP research center director
09/02/2020 RFA Questions?
  • Questions accepted through: Wednesday, 9/2/2020 (5 pm Mountain Time)
  • Email questions to:
09/04/2020 Applications due to SONNET
  • Applications due by: Friday, September 4, 2020 (5 pm Mountain Time)
  • Email applications to:
09/09/2020 - 09/25/2020 Peer review and telephone interview(s)
  • Peer review and telephone interview(s) will be scheduled between: Wednesday, 9/9/2020 – Friday 9/25/2020
09/30/2020 Approximate Decision and announcement
  • Decision and announcement of SONNET’s new Director/new Region: (Aprroximate) Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Begin the subcontracting process with KPCO
  • Start date: (Approximate) Thursday, October 1, 2020