March 2016 Newsletter

In the five months since its establishment, the Root Cause Coalition has made tremendous progress in bringing the healthcare industry into discussions and action as to how we, as a nation, can best address the social determinants of health.   Since October of 2015, The Coalition has experienced steady growth in membership and is already widely recognized across the country as an organization that has the ability to convene key participants in developing sustainable and effective solutions to ensure all individuals’ basic needs are met.  Our areas of focus include research, education and advocacy.   Relative to research, an initial study, Tackling Hunger to Improve Health in Americans, was commissioned and begun this past January by The Root Cause Coalition with the CDC Foundation, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control, and is highlighted in this newsletter.  Please be sure to read how hospitals and health systems across the nation can become participants in this study so that we can continue to meet our goal to identify the best, most practical and sustainable solutions to addressing food insecurity.  Our work ahead is significant, but achievable!

We encourage you to contact us at the Coalition to learn how you can become involved  and, in turn, become part of the growing voice that’s giving new perspective to addressing  basic needs and, ultimately, improving the health of our nation.

Warm regards,
Barbara J. Petee
Executive Director
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Coalition Highlights

Tufts University Nutrition Scientists Provide Updated MyPlate for Older Adults – a collaboration with AARP Foundation, a founding member of The Root Cause Coalition.

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Call to Action! Do you know of a hospital or health care system that is addressing food insecurity – or a community group working with a health care entity to address food insecurity? The Public Health Institute in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CDC Foundation, ProMedica and the AARP Foundation is conducting a study to identify promising practices in health care to address food insecurity – and they want to hear from you. Click here to learn more and nominate an innovative policy or program.

Research Highlights

Study Tackles Community College Food and Housing Insecurity
While a great deal of research concentrates on younger students, a recent study turned its focus to the prevalence of food insecurity among students in community colleges. Results of this study show that a significant percentage of the students surveyed faced persistent food and housing insecurity due to the high costs of tuition and other socioeconomic barriers, suggesting a need to address this issue within institutions of higher education.

Community Initiative Addresses Asthma Health Disaparities
Asthma is one the most common chronic diseases in the U.S., yet black and Hispanic children are more frequently hospitalized with complications of asthma. A recent study by the CDC evaluated a community initiative that addressed this racial disparity in asthma outcomes through case management and home visits. The evaluation revealed the initiative lowered the number of black and Hispanic children’s hospitalizations for asthma-related reasons by nearly 80 percent.

Innovative New Tool Developed for Obesity Intervention
Researchers at the University of California recently published an article describing their development of a new Google-based online tool that assists obese individuals in finding health food stores, recreational programs and healthcare facilities by tailoring them to individual preferences regarding safety, distance, and other factors. This tool is a modern way to manage intervention programs and could be used to address health disparities for under-resourced populations.

The Root Cause Coalition newsletter is published monthly to provide updates on our work in addressing the social determinants of health, with specific emphasis on hunger as a public health issue, and our work on improving the health status of individuals and communities. If you would like more information, please be sure to visit our website at or contact us at [email protected] or [email protected].