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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! Register today for TRCC’s 6th National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health, held virtually October 4-6, 2021. Click here to register and continue to watch this space for updates! With a focus on how the events of the last year-and-a-half have underscored the urgency to address social determinants to achieve health equity, the agenda for this year’s National Summit will bring together leaders in 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, including a focus on systemic racism.

National Summit Speaker Spotlight: Barbara Nicols, Executive Director at the Wisconsin Center for Nursing, will be among this year's presenters. To learn more about her session, "Nurses leading the way to address health equity and social determinants of health in the community,” please click here.

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors, AARP Foundation and ProMedica. And thank you to Robert Wood Johnson for sponsoring TRCC’s “Voices from the Field” initiative, a series of forthcoming vignettes focused on individual voices of those affected by social determinants of health. If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities at this year’s National Summit, please contact Madison Flores at

Social Determinants in the News

Confronting a legacy of scarcity: a plan for reinvesting in U.S. public health

This report, published by Yale Law School and Yale School of Public Health, advocates for a new model of public health funding. The authors propose a plan to address SDoH that creates a reliable and sustainable public health funding stream centered around data collected from local, state and federal policymakers, those in academics, and on-the-ground practitioners.

Report outlines how to make care systems more equitable

A new survey explored the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economic security of frontline workers, particularly Black and Latinx women. Building on their survey findings, the authors lay out several suggestions for new childcare, long-term care and healthcare investments that address racial and gender disparities.

Building mutually beneficial partnerships between payers and community-based organizations

This article outlines challenges between payers and community-based organizations and suggests new solutions to create sustainable funding streams for SDoH initiatives. The authors suggest improving communication methods, providing incentives and conducting ongoing reevaluations as ways to strengthen collaborative health equity efforts.

Connection Revealed Between Community Health, Vaccine Hesitancy and COVID Outcomes

This article discusses the correlation between vaccine hesitancy and community health scores shown in this year’s US News Healthiest Communities rankings. An assessment of 3,000 communities across the country on 84 various health measures showed higher-income areas had higher community health scores and tended to have better COVID-19 outcomes, along with lower vaccine hesitancy.

Food Insecurity Tied to More Liver Disease Deaths

A recent study found food insecurity is associated with greater mortality rates in adults with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and advanced liver fibrosis, regardless of income levels. The authors explore food insecurity’s impact on long term health outcomes, discuss communities most likely to suffer from food insecurity and poverty, and emphasize the importance of focusing on upstream SDoH to improve health outcomes.

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.

Members of Congress Urge Leadership to Prioritize Maternal Health

Representatives Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Alma Adams (D-NC) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) led a sign-on letter – along with 163 Members of Congress - urging that House and Senate leadership prioritize US maternal health policies in the next COVID-19 recovery package. Specifically, they push for the inclusion of Representative Underwood’s Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, H.R. 959, as well as a permanent expansion of year-long postpartum Medicaid coverage in the next phase of recovery package development. The letter highlights the disproportionate impact of the pandemic and maternal health on Black women and people of color as well as the need for these policies to achieve true equity and justice for all mothers and birthing people.

S.2013 - Medical Nutrition Equity Act of 2021

This bill was introduced by Senator Robert Casey [D-PA] to address the disproportionate financial burden on families seeking treatment for digestive and inherited metabolic disorders. The bill would require private insurance and public health programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), to provide coverage for medically necessary nutrition when it is needed to prevent severe disability and death. Lack of access to medically necessary food and medical nutrition leads to higher risk of malnutrition, surgery and repeated hospitalizations, which affects health outcomes and healthcare costs. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

H.R. 4066 - Save Rural Hospitals Act of 2021

This bill was introduced by Representative Terri Sewell [D-AL] to address the growing trend of hospital closures in rural communities, exacerbated this past year by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would help rural hospitals struggling with low reimbursement rates and high operating costs by changing the Medicare Area Wage Index to ensure that rural hospitals receive fair payments for the care they provide. Raising these Medicare reimbursement levels could help to curb hospital closures while also ensuring those in rural and underserved communities have access to quality and affordable healthcare. The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

S.2071 - BRIDGE Act

This bill, introduced by Senator Michael Bennet [D-CO], would help close the digital divide by establishing a Broadband Access Fund for states, tribal governments, US territories and the District of Columbia to strengthen and improve their broadband infrastructure. This funding would be used for local initiatives that promote broadband adoption and inclusion, with priority given to unserved and underserved communities. The bill would also work towards digital equity by setting minimum speeds for new broadband networks, lifting bans against municipal broadband networks and requiring at least one affordable option in each community. The bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy recognized nationally for community response during pandemic

Loma Linda University’s (LLU) School of Pharmacy has received the “Rookie Award” for their COVID-19 response at the 10th Annual 2021 Medication Adherence Team Challenge. LLU helped alleviate vaccine hesitancy through patient education, distribution of fliers addressing commons myths, creating radio messages in English and Spanish, and more. LLU students and faculty participated in 15 vaccine clinics and a student-led free clinic for those experiencing homelessness.


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