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The Root Cause Coalition Weekly Bulletin

This weekly bulletin is provided by The Root Cause Coalition to provide news and information on the social determinants of health, as well as a snapshot of the Coalition’s activities.

The Root Cause Coalition provides this weekly update to draw attention to our members’ social determinants of health (SDoH) activities, SDoH in the news and the ever-growing challenges faced by our most vulnerable communities. We encourage you to share SDoH-focused research, events and other resources with us so that we can promote it through our TRCC network. Our aim is to foster an exchange of information that is helpful to others so that those most in need - on whose behalf we work each day - can continue to receive information, access and services to improve health and quality of life. If you have information to share, please email us:

TRCC News and Upcoming Events

Register for TRCC’s 6th National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health! The National Summit will be held virtually October 4-6, 2021.

Early bird registration goes through July 1st, 2021. Click here to register and learn more!

COVID-19 has brought increased awareness of disparities among our nation’s minorities and most vulnerable. It is increasingly critical to understand the clear associations between social determinants and poor health status among children, adults and seniors. Factors such as systemic racism, food insecurity, lack of safe and affordable housing, quality education, transportation and isolation have a significant impact on individual health and the collective health of our nation.

The agenda for this year’s National Summit will bring together representatives from healthcare, community and faith-based organizations, researchers, government leaders, educators and businesses to share best practices, offer community connections and resources and engage in the crucial discussion of how to best address the social determinants of health.

The Root Cause Coalition Releases Its Latest Consumer Insights Research: Perceptions of COVID-19 on Health Equity and Social Determinants This research explores consumer sentiment, behavior and attitudes around COVID-19 and health equity, and the impact on individuals. The press release and full report are available here.

TRCC’s Latest Accelerated Response Brief from the Children’s Hospital Association The Root Cause Coalition has released its next Accelerated Response Brief (ARB), a subset of CHA’s members’ work to address Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This brief is part of a series that highlights TRCC members’ initiatives, programs and policies throughout the pandemic. Please click here to read insights from a few of CHA’s members. We welcome additional Accelerated Response Brief submissions! TRCC members interested in being featured in a future ARB should contact Alex Lewin-Zwerdling at

Social Determinants in the News

This New England Journal of Medicine article discusses the history and evolution of health disparities research in the US as well as the need for effective mitigation strategies. The article emphasizes the importance of designing health solutions that target policies and structural issues that allow racial inequities to persist.

Research conducted by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign illustrates how the built environment has impacted health outcomes during COVID. Focusing on 135 of the most urbanized parts of the US (home to just over 40% of the total US population), findings show that green space was linked to reduced racial health disparities related to COVID-19 infection rates.

Capital Area Food Bank has launched Curbside Groceries, a mobile grocery truck that travels to seven locations throughout Ward 8 in Washington, DC. This service provides community members with access to quality and affordable food while combating transportation barriers; to date, it has served 1,300 residents.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) explores the importance of integrating health equity and related topics into medical education for emerging health professionals. Suggestions for addressing SDoH include cultural competency, acknowledging how systemic racism and bias cause health disparities and promoting diversity among faculty members.

This article outlines the importance a public option for health insurance at the state and federal levels to improve health equity. Introducing a public option for health insurance can assist in lowering the overall cost of health care, allowing the savings to be passed onto consumers and reinvested in furthering equity initiatives.

A new framework published in JCO Oncology Practice identifies strategies and experts with a track-record of providing successful community and patient-centric standards to improve education and community engagement in medically underserved communities. The framework offers suggestions to mitigate disparities in cancer care including resources to address financial insecurity and social supports.

SDOH Advocacy Update

Current updates on state and federal SDoH Advocacy. For further details about the bills listed here, and contact information for sponsors and cosponsors, please click the links in the headlines below.

Introduced by Representative Lauren Underwood [D-IL], this bill will strengthen maternity care coordination within the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure delivery of high-quality maternal and mental health care for pregnant and postpartum veterans. Additionally, the bill requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity among pregnant and postpartum veterans, focusing on racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes for veterans. This bill became the first of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus bills to pass out of committee when it was approved by Veterans’ Affairs the first week of May 2021.

Introduced by Senator Mark Warner [D-VA], this bill establishes a system of tax credits and grants to expand access to healthy foods in underserved communities. To be eligible, food providers who service low-access communities must be certified as Special Access Food Providers (SAFPs) by the US Treasury. Tax credits and grants would be given to SAFPs for the construction or renovation of grocery stores or food banks in food deserts, as well as operating costs for temporary access merchants, such as mobile and farmers markets. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.

Introduced by Representative Anna Eshoo [D-CA], this bill works to close the digital divide by requiring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provide to Congress an updated National Broadband Plan while also conducting a report examining broadband accessibility and affordability for all Americans during COVID-19. Additionally, the bill would require the FCC develop and share strategies outlining how connectivity can be used to advance racial justice and socioeconomic equity in health care and education. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

Introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar, this bill establishes a grant program to support the development and implementation of plans that help close this country’s housing shortage. Grants would be given to states and localities to expand the supply and affordability of housing, reduce barriers to new housing development and avoid the displacement of current residents. The Department of Housing and Urban Develop (HUD) would also need to provide policies, strategies and reforms that grantees can adopt to address housing challenges in their communities. The bill was referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) has announced a national health equity strategy focused on measuring racial health disparities, forming community and clinical partnerships, scaling effective programs and influencing local and federal policy decisions. BCBSA has convened a national advisory panel of doctors, public health experts and community leaders to provide guidance. This strategy includes an emphasis on maternal health with a public goal of reducing racial disparities in maternal health by 50 percent in five years. “BCBS companies are fully committed to reach this goal,” said BCBSA President and CEO Kim Keck.


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