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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! Summit Speaker Spotlight: Dana Niemela, Director of Community Outreach & Resource Engagement Division with Denver Human Services, will be one of TRCC’s featured speaker on Tuesday, October 5th. To find out more about her session, "Implementing the Social Determinants of Health in Human Services: The process behind developing a tool adapted for Human Services," 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

Artificial Intelligence Therapy Reduces Depression and Anxiety

A recent clinical study from Stanford University showed how a specific telehealth platform for mental health care utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. These results show how AI treatment can be used to expand low-cost access to mental health care while alleviating demand for mental health care professionals.

On Pine Ridge Reservation, a Garden Helps Replace an 80-mile Grocery Trip

The Pine Ridge Reservation’s Oyate Teca Project, an effort to address food insecurity in the Oglala Lakota Nation, is discussed in this report. The Oytae Teca project teaches participants how to start home gardens, increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Participants are also able to take classes on financial literacy and business planning to encourage entrepreneurship while also fostering financial security.

COVID-19 Study: Prevalence of Unusual Symptoms in Older Adults

This study outlines atypical COVID-19 symptoms experienced by older adults, such as functional decline and altered mental status. Researchers found that those with atypical presentation were older, more likely to be female, Black, non-Hispanic, have a higher comorbidity index and/or have diabetes. The authors urged additional research to better understand these differences in presentation among distinct populations.

4 Areas Where Nurses Can Make an Impact in Social Determinants of Health

This piece summarizes a presentation at the annual conference of the American Organization of Nursing Leadership. It focuses on the role of nurses in addressing SDoH across disciplines, at the policy level and in clinical and community settings. The presentation also referenced the recent Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity report released the National Academy of Medicine that outlines the role of nurses to advance achieve health equity.

Three Ways Providers Are Using Data to Advance Health Equity

This article shares key insights from two panels, hosted by Premier, that brought together providers to discuss changes in their approaches to working within their communities and making care delivery more equitable. Top ways to use data - along with recommendations for equity-focused policies – are noted to help close equity gaps.

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.3890 - Physician Assistant Education Public Health Initiatives Act of 2021

Introduced by Representative Karen Bass [D-CA], this bill would mitigate clinical training site shortages by providing grant funding to physician assistant education programs. It would establish or expand clinical education and training programs at underserved sites including Federally Qualified Health Centers, Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics. Grant funding would also be given to physician assistant education programs to develop and implement curriculum that teaches about effective patient communication principles as well as the social, cultural, physical and linguistic barriers when using telehealth services. Last, the bill would commission research exploring best practices for the recruitment and retention of faculty and students underrepresented in the physician assistant profession and education programs. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

S.1847 - ACCESS to Careers Act of 2021

This bill, introduced by Senator Tim Kaine [D-VA], would expand access to post-secondary training and educational opportunities for students in community and technical colleges. These Department of Education grants would provide students with a wide-range of support services, including child care, mental health treatment, transportation, direct financial assistance and case management services. Grants would also be awarded to states to establish and implement statewide policies that encourage the development and implementation of accelerated learning strategies, including competency-based education, credit for prior learning, and other strategies for supporting students’ pathways to credential attainment. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

H.R.769 - Rural Maternal and Obstetric Modernization of Services Act

This bill, introduced by Representative Dan Newhouse [R-WA], addresses the maternal health crisis in the US, particularly in rural areas. The bill would provide funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to establish rural obstetric networks that foster innovation and collaboration while seeking to improve birth outcomes in rural areas. Demonstration grants would also be available to medical schools and other health professional training programs that provide education and training on maternal health in rural areas. Additionally, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) would be required to conduct a study on gaps and racial inequities in rural maternal health care delivery and data collection. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Health.

S.834 - Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2021

This bill was introduced by Senator Robert Menendez [D-NJ] to improve infrastructure and access to care by addressing the growing physician shortage. The bill would lift the cap on the number of Medicare-funded graduate medical education (GME) positions available, adding an additional 14,000 positions over seven years. Priority in resident distribution would be given to hospitals that serve rural communities and other areas with health professional shortages. The bill would also commission a study from the Government Accountability Office on strategies to increase the number of health professionals from rural, lower income and underrepresented minority communities. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

Acenda Announces Institute of Health Innovation

Acenda Integrated Health has announced its newest initiative, Acenda Institute of Health Innovation (AIHI). Through this initiative, Acenda aims to focus on key areas of leadership including applied research, policy & advocacy, innovation incubator, population health and the Center of Excellence. Their goal is to have a scalable impact on local, state, regional and national strategies that address health equity.


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