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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 and highlights about speakers and sessions! Featured Plenary Presentation: Vic Strecher, Founder & Chief Purpose Officer of Kumanu, and Randy Oostra, President & CEO of ProMedica, will be plenary speakers at this year's summit. To learn more about their session "Connecting the Personal and Social Determinants of Health: A Call to Action for Businesses," please click here. 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.

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 forthcoming series of video footage 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

The Impact of Climate Change on Health

This article discusses recent research from Harvard University and The New York Times which found an increase in heat and pollution-related deaths for people with chronic health conditions. These results highlight the increasing importance of climate-informed clinicians, who will be better able to provide better care for patients while leading climate innovations to reduce the carbon footprint of the healthcare industry.

It's time to build a better behavioral health system

This article addresses the significant gap in equitable access to mental health care and calls for an improved healthcare system that acknowledges and incorporates the importance of mental health services. To address these inequities, the author urges greater investment in preventive mental healthcare and a new approach that better integrates primary healthcare and behavioral healthcare in tandem.

How one student is working to eliminate the stigma around menstruation and poverty

This article outlines the efforts being taken by the Black Period Project to address period poverty and its connection to other SDoH. Period poverty, or the inability to afford basic menstrual products, affects 1 in 10 college students with a disproportionate impact on Black and Latina women. The impact of period poverty is outlined throughout the article along with other community organizations’ efforts to address these inequities.

Using advanced analytics to look at the ‘whole person’ for better value-based care delivery

This article discusses the implementation of a value-based care (VBC) model to provide higher quality care for patients and more sustainable revenue for providers. In order to adopt a VBC model, actionable SDoH data must be collected and easily aggregated for advanced analytic review. The author also discusses the advantages of a VBC delivery system and calls for improved healthcare technology.

A cool idea for low-income urban areas hard hit by warming climate: More trees

This article outlines the need to incorporate a “Tree Equity Score” alongside other SDoH to address the disproportionate impact of heat-related health issues in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Studies found that the wealthiest neighborhoods have 65 percent more tree canopy to mitigate heat distribution, improve mental and population health, and filter pollution from the air.

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.3671 - DOC Act

This bill was introduced by Representative Frank Pallone to address the shortage of healthcare workers that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would permanently authorize the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program which is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This program supports the training of primary care medical and dental residents in community-based settings, such as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Clinics and tribal health centers. The bill would provide increased and sustained annual funding to the THCGME program and would expand the program’s capacity to train additional residents, providing a reliable stream of doctors to medically underserved areas. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

S.2137 - Rural Transportation Equity Act of 2021

Introduced by Senator Richard Durbin [D-IL], this bill would ensure reliable and equitable access to transportation by establishing a new Office of Rural Investment within the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). This USDOT Office would address the unique needs and challenges of rural transportation, expand investment in rural transportation infrastructure and provide education and technical assistance to improve access to transportation programs in all rural communities. The bill would also establish a Rural Transportation Advisory Council that would issue recommended changes needed to eliminate barriers for rural access while also improving rural equity in transportation investments. The bill was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

S.1716 - BABIES Act

This bill was introduced by Senator Ben Ray Luján [D-NM] to increase access to quality, affordable maternity care. This bill would require that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) establish a Medicaid demonstration program to improve quality and access to freestanding birth center services for women with low-risk pregnancies. CMS would also be required to award state-level planning grants to develop proposals and provide guidance when establishing prospective payment systems under Medicaid. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.

H.R.2465 - Healthy Families Act

Introduced by Representative Rosa DeLauro [D-CT], 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 then 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 Education and Labor, and in addition to the Committees on House Administration, and Oversight and Reform.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

Telenutrition Helps Open Hand Close Gaps for Georgia Seniors

Open Hand Atlanta has expanded its telenutrition platform to provide nearby senior centers with monthly nutrition security screenings and nutrition education. Open Hand has focused on connecting rural areas of Georgia to critical resources and will continue to partner with other local organizations to strengthen and expand their current initiatives and efforts.


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