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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 Now for the National Summit!! We hope you join us for TRCC’s 6th National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health, held virtually October 4-6, 2021. Early bird registration goes through July 1st, 2021. Click here to register and learn more! With a focus on how the events of the last year-and-a-half have underscored the urgency to address the social determinants to achieve health equity, 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. Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors, AARP Foundation and ProMedica.

Additional sponsorship opportunities are available! If you are interested in sponsoring this year’s event, please contact Madison Flores at TRCC Releases New Consumer Insights Research: COVID-19 Behaviors and Implications for Health Equity

Last week, the Coalition released its latest consumer insights report. This month’s survey focuses on the intersection of COVID-19 and health equity, including the interesting connection between age and our pandemic (and perceived post-pandemic) activities. Click here for the press release and the full report.

TRCC Welcomes New Board Member

TRCC Board Welcomes Melissa Fox MHA, FACMPE, FACHE to its Board of Directors. Ms. Fox serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Acenda Integrated Health where she oversees the operations and systems for more than 100 programs throughout 13 counties in New Jersey. We are delighted to welcome her to this role, and appreciate the passion and expertise she brings to our critical issues. To learn more, please click here.

Social Determinants in the News

Hunger is a Political Decision. We Can Work to End It.

Representatives James McGovern [D-MA] and Jahana Hayes [D-CT] call on the White House to hold a substantive, policy-based conference focused on ending U.S. hunger by 2030. The Representatives discuss the legacy of the last White House Conference on Hunger held in 1969, some of the progress that’s been made since but also the work that remains.

Health Disparities Still Found in Kidney Care

Structural changes are still needed in kidney care, as Black and African Americans are nearly four times more likely to suffer from kidney disease compared to their white counterparts. The author discusses the structural barriers many communities of color face in accessing care and urges the passage of legislation that would provide Medicare coverage of essential treatment for kidney care complications.

Racial Equity in Health Must Include Asian Americans

This article calls attention to the increasing importance of including all minority communities in SDoH efforts, specifically those within the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. The author highlights the historical lack of recognition of AAPI communities by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and provides NIH with suggestions to better achieve racial equity in their future research and funding decisions.

Adjusting Medicare Payments For Social Risk To Better Support Social Needs

In a report responding to the 2014 Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) suggest that small area based measures of social risk could play a role in payment adjustment. This article outlines the measures needed to adequately collect social needs data that would then allow resources to be properly allocated to communities in need. It also shares the findings of a workshop created to review policy suggestions for social risk payment methods.

Racial Disparities in Maternal Health

Blue Cross Blue Shield examined the most common risk factors and variations of severe maternal morbidity (SMM) among white, Black and Hispanic communities. The analysis included 2.2 million hospital births covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield commercial insurance and found significant disparities between majority Black or Hispanic communities and majority white communities. The report ends with a request that public health experts, policymakers, advocates, and others join the fight for health equity for all.

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.

President Biden’s 2022 Budget Released

On May 28th, the White House released its proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Budget with over $6 trillion in total spending. This proposal included the previously announced American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. The budget prioritizes strengthening public health infrastructure by increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including $153 million for the CDC’s Social Determinants of Health program. The budget would also provide $1.6 billion for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program and $200 million to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates nationwide. Additionally, $500 million would be given for Homeless Assistance Grants and $30.4 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers to help end homelessness. Funding and grant consideration is also given to early childcare and learning, rural outreach and connectivity, and transportation equity, among many other issues.

S.1675 - Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act

Introduced by Senator Raphael Warnock [D-GA], this bill would address the maternal health crisis by establishing a grant program for organizations working to improve maternal health care quality, eliminate preventable maternal mortality and address SDoH that impact maternal health outcomes. It would also allocate funding for racial and ethnic bias trainings in schools and teaching programs and would commission a study on best practices for training programs that reduce and prevent discrimination in maternal care. Additionally, grant programs would be established for the development of perinatal quality collaboratives and integrated healthcare services for pregnant and postpartum individuals. The bill was passed out of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in the last week of May.

S.1195 - Healthy Families Act

Introduced by Senator Patty Murray [D-WA], this bill would establish a permanent paid sick day policy in the US, improving the economic security of millions of workers who do not currently have access to guaranteed paid leave. The bill would allow workers at businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to 56 hours of paid sick leave each year. These days could be used not only for personal illness but also to care for a family member, pursue preventive medical care or seek assistance related to domestic violence issues. Employers would be required to post notice of this policy and the Department of Labor would collect annual information on the amount of paid and unpaid sick time available to employees by both occupation and type of employment establishment. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

H.R. 851 - Future Advancement of Academic Nursing Act

Introduced by Representative Lauren Underwood [D-IL], this bill would invest in nursing schools to ensure sufficient frontline providers for future public health challenges. The bill would allocate grant funding to enhance and modernize nursing schools, with priority given to schools located in medically underserved communities. These grants could be used for updating curriculum and infrastructure as well as expanded opportunities for clinical education. Additionally, the grants could be used to increase recruitment and retention of both students and faculty from racial or ethnic groups that are underrepresented in nursing. After introduction, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Health.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

UPMC Provided $1.7 Billion in Community Benefits in Fiscal Year 2020

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has released its 2020 Community Benefits Report, detailing how $1.7 billion in community benefits have served the regions they serve in Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland. The funding includes measures to make care more accessible in vulnerable communities, improvements for community health and wellness programs, investments in medical research and education and advancing health improvement services such as neighborhood clinics and support groups. Click here to read the full report.


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