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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

National Summit Registration Now Open! 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! And be sure to share this link with your network, to ensure those committed to health equity in our time are able to attend this event! 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.

Social Determinants in the News

Meeting Biden’s New Climate Target Starts with Affordable, Sustainable Housing

This article discusses how the American Jobs Plan will provide resources to build, preserve and retrofit more than 1 million resilient and affordable housing units. It outlines the need for housing infrastructure investment in order to address climate change and its impact on SDoH.

Benefits of SDoH Curriculum in Medical Education

Researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine found that medical students who participated in a longitudinal health equity curriculum were significantly more likely to have a better understanding of SDoH and also felt more confident working with underserved populations. The authors emphasize the importance of incorporating a health equity curriculum and the role medical schools must play in teaching health care professionals to understand and mitigate the social and economic factors that lead to health disparities.

Out-of-Pocket Costs for Brand-Name Medications Increased 15%

A study from JAMA Network Open found that changes in brand-name medication prices for most commercially-insured patients correlated with changes in out-of-pocket costs. Researchers suggest the association is influenced by insurance benefit design and have called on policy makers to consider consumer access and affordability while limiting price increases among brand-name drugs.

Is It Time for a Second White House Summit on Food?

This article discusses Senator Cory Booker’s ambitions to address food insecurity on the Senate Agriculture Committee and outlines how the first White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health, held in 1969, shaped US food and nutrition policy for years to come. The author discusses the possibility of a holding another White House food conference and the need for a coordinated response to the hunger crisis still happening today.

Updated guidance issued for maintaining ethics and professionalism in cardiovascular care

A new report from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology on medical ethics and professionalism addresses SDoH within cardiovascular medicine. Composed by a diverse committee addressing diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice in health care, the report presents a roadmap to achieving health equity. The report also calls for training in allyship and antiracism as part of medical school course requirements.

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.

H.R.958 - Protecting Moms Who Served Act

Introduced by Representative Lauren Underwood [D-IL], this bill was the first in the Black Maternal Health Momnibus to pass the House last week. This legislation will codify and 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, with a particular focus on veterans.

S. 1170 - Summer Meals Act

Introduced by Senator Kristen Gillibrand [D-NY], this bill would expand the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer Food Service Program by lowering free meal eligibility thresholds while also reducing the administrative burden for public-private partnerships to participate in the program. In an effort to get children to summer meal sites, it would also provide grants to promote new and innovative ways to address transportation barriers in rural and underserved areas. Additionally, the bill would allow Summer Nutrition Program providers to be reimbursed for meals served to children off site after emergencies or disasters. The bill was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

H.R.1631 - Community Broadband Act of 2021

Introduced by Representative Anna Eshoo, this bill would bridge the digital divide by promoting broadband access through expanded public-private partnerships and local broadband systems. Currently, nineteen states have passed laws that either restrict or outright prohibit local communities from investing in building their own broadband networks. This bill would nullify these state laws, preserving the local right to self-determination that ensures residents have better access to high-quality internet services for school, work and telehealth needs. The bill was referred to the House

Committee on Energy and Commerce.

S. Res. 172 - A resolution declaring racism a public health crisis

This resolution, introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), would declare racism a public health crisis. It commits to establishing a national strategy to address health disparities and inequities across all sectors of society, dismantling systemic practices and policies that perpetuate racism while promoting efforts to address SDoH. This bill has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

LISC, Uber, Paypal Giving Fund and Walgreens have joined forces to create the Vaccine Access Fund, an $11 million initiative that addresses health inequities and facilitates rides to vaccination sites for residents who can’t get there on their own

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) recently announced the launch of the Vaccine Access Fund, supported by Uber, PayPal Giving Fund and Walgreens, that will address transportation barriers to accessing the COVID-19 vaccine. The fund will provide communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 with free ride shares to vaccine sites and will work with local organizations to advance health equity. To learn more, please click here.


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