The Root Cause Coalition is a national, member-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of health disparities by focusing on hunger and other social determinants leading to nationwide epidemic of preventable chronic health conditions.

Founded by ProMedica and AARP Foundation, the coalition’s membership is dedicated to bringing the full power of health care to bear in our collective fight to address the short- and long-term health of our communities. Our diverse membership – from nationally known nonprofits to small business and community organizations – recognizes that no one sector can address the full breadth of the social determinants ravaging the health of our people. We must work together. We share best practices, engage with communities in collaborative projects, participate in research and use our collective strength to advance public policy that will improve the health and well-being of the diverse communities we serve.

By encouraging and fostering cross-sector partnerships, we are able to increase the collective impact of our member organizations in our three primary areas of focus: research, education and advocacy. We believe the social determinants of health can be addressed effectively only through intentional partnerships and innovative interventions that work to disrupt hunger, housing instability, economic disparities and other hardships plaguing our communities.

It is time to join forces across sectors, state lines and services to end hunger and promote happy, healthy communities for everyone.

Lisa Marsh Ryerson, Chair, The Root Cause Coalition Board and President, AARP Foundation

Lisa Marsh Ryerson has served as president of AARP Foundation, AARP’s affiliated charity, since 2013. She is an experienced and innovative leader, responsible for setting the foundation’s strategic direction and leading its efforts to create opportunities for older Americans struggling with poverty, hunger, housing problems and social isolation. Awarded for leadership and service throughout her career, Ms. Ryerson has forged innovative collaborations with other organizations, such as the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, and helped AARP Foundation secure unprecedented funding for programs and services.

Randy Oostra, Vice Chair, The Root Cause Coalition Board and President & CEO ProMedica

Randy Oostra is president and chief executive officer of ProMedica, a not-for-profit, mission-based health system in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Deeply commited to the healthcare industry and the community, Mr. Oostra is extensively involved in numerous professional and civic organizations at the local, regional and national levels. A member of the development committee for Bread for the World, he is on the board of the American Hospital Association, a member of the Ohio and Michigan hospital associations and a fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Emily Allen, Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition, and Sr. Vice President, Foundation Programs, AARP Foundation

Throughout her career, Ms. Allen’s passion has been to serve the needs of those most at risk in our communities. Serving in a several capacities in nonprofit, education and workforce development organizations, she has worked to ensure vulnerable and at-risk individuals have access to the resources and services they need to thrive. Beginning her career as a special education teacher and school administrator in the Bahamas, Ms. Allen went on to work with AARP and AARP Foundation. She was named Vice President for AARP Foundation in 2011.

Randy Schimmoeller, Trustee, The Root Cause Coalition and Sr. Vice President, ProMedica Continuing Care

In his role at ProMedica, Randy Schimmoeller sets strategic and operational direction for home care, hospice, senior services, lab facilities, rehabilitation services and outpatient pharmacies. With more than 30 years of healthcare human resources experience (The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center in Ohio, and Community Medical Center in Pennsylvania) Mr. Schimmoeller’s expertise lies in developing partnerships with local community agencies to improving the health and well-being of our communities, and implementing programs to support ProMedica’s strategic and operational goals.

Barbara Petee, Executive Director, The Root Cause Coalition and ProMedica Chief Advocacy and Government Relations Officer

Ms. Petee has served as the inaugural Executive Director for the Coalition since its launch in October 2015. With more than 30 years of experience in health care, Barbara is responsible for connecting organizations and agencies who understand the importance of addressing the social determinants of health together so that the Coalition’s mission and work in research, education and advocacy can be achieved. In her role at ProMedica, Ms. Petee has worked on addressing food insecurity and addressing hunger as a health issue for nearly a decade and helps connect the advocacy work of the organization to broader policy.

Ms. Petee has held numerous roles in her 29-year tenure with the organization including Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer. She has served on numerous local, regional and national boards and committees, and is currently a member of the Business Advisory Council for Toledo Public Schools, an advisor to the board of directors of the Toledo Area Humane Society, and a board member of the Alliance to End Hunger, an affiliate of Bread for the World, based in Washington D.C.

Jason Gromley, Vice President of Operations, The Root Cause Coalition and Vice President of Government Relations, Strategic Health Care

As part of the leadership team of The Root Cause Coalition, Mr. Gromley plays a critical role in the continued development and implementation of the Coalition’s strategic plan, recruitment of Coalition members, and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-profit.

Mr. Gromley utilizes the depth of knowledge he has amassed as a seasoned health policy, government relations, and coalition development consultant to guide the coalition toward the use of operationally sound strategies for engaging healthcare organizations in successful community collaboration. Mr. Gromley is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and received his law degree from the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law in Philadelphia.

Monique Brigham, Manager of Education and Programming

As Manager of Education and Programming, Ms. Brigham develops all internal and external programming for the Coalition. Additionally, Ms. Brigham serves as the staff liaison to the Coalition's committees and provides facilitation support in the areas of Advocacy, Education, and Research. Prior to joining The Root Cause Coalition team, Ms. Brigham gained experience as a Legislative and Policy Associate at a DC-based healthcare consulting. Ms. Brigham attended the University of Kansas where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology.

Gwenna Ihrie, Membership & Operations Coordinator

As Membership & Operations Coordinator, Ms. Ihrie supports the Coalition’s growing membership and carries out the day-to-day workings of the organization. Prior to her work with The Root Cause Coalition, Ms. Ihrie gained experience conducting research on food deserts in her undergraduate studies and later served as an AmeriCorps member at a college access non-profit in Illinois. Originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, Ms. Ihrie graduated from Grinnell College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

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