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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

Last week, Congressman James McGovern [D-MA], Chairman of the House Rules Committee and Barbara Petee, The Root Cause Coalition’s Executive Director, authored an op-ed featured in Agri-Pulse. In the piece, Congressman McGovern and Ms. Petee discuss the financial and human costs of hunger, highlight findings from the Coalition’s forthcoming public insights research and call on the Biden administration to hold an overdue White House conference that addresses the hunger crisis in America. To read the Op-Ed, please click here.

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: Josie Williams, Executive Director of the Greensboro Housing Coalition, will be among the featured speakers at this year's National Summit. Her presentation, “Healthcare and Community Development Multi-Sector Partnerships Advancing Anti-Racist Policies and Practices that Increase Health Equity-Promoting Investments in Smaller Cities," will focus on building multi-sector partnerships to advance anti-racist policies. Click here for more information about this session and register here today. 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

Recent research has created a COVID-19 inequity index for New York City. Researchers examine SDoH metrics including employment, commuting needs, population density and socioeconomic status. The results found a strong link between COVID-19 infection rates and subway usage. Minority neighborhoods were significantly less likely to be prepared for stay-at-home orders due to lack of infrastructure funding and community development, putting them at higher risk for infection.

In a recent study published by JAMA Network, researchers found that eligibility for Medicare at 65 was associated with reductions in racial and ethnic disparities in insurance coverage, access to care and self-reported health.

This piece provides an overview of several studies examining the impact of SDoH on heart and brain health. It revealed that neighborhoods with low socioeconomic status are significantly more likely to suffer from heart related diseases. The authors urge policy makers and community members to work together to find racially equitable solutions that will invest in community development and health equity.

This article highlights national programs from the United Kingdom and Germany that have transformed their food systems to address climate change and SDoH. It notes these programs as examples for others looking to shift their approach to health and food. The author calls on policy makers to better examine the connections between health crises and food systems transformation to improve health outcomes for both people and the planet.

On behalf of All In: Data for Community Health, Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) has launched a nationwide survey aimed at increasing equitable community data-sharing practices. Results will drive efforts to support organizations, practitioners, policymakers and researchers in shaping new collaborations, tools, resources and technical assistance. Please click here to learn more; the survey closes on August 15th, 2021.

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.

This bill was introduced by Representative Jahana Hayes [D-CT] to address achievement gaps for students in underserved communities that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would establish an Educational Equity Challenge Grant program to support local and state educational agencies and community-based organizations. Grants would be focused on supporting students’ academic, social-emotional, mental and physical health needs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding prioritization is for applicants serving students in rural, minority and low-income areas. Funding could also be used to develop and expand culturally and linguistically responsive curricula and to recruit and support racially, ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse educators through State-accredited teacher preparation programs. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.

Introduced by Senator Cory Booker [D-NJ], this legislation would address the maternal health crisis in the US by extending postpartum Medicaid coverage to a full year, including full care and not solely pregnancy-related services. The bill would increase Medicaid minimum reimbursement rates to bring additional primary care and women’s health providers to underserved areas and improve Medicaid coverage of doula care, which has been shown to improve health outcomes for pregnant women. Finally, the bill would require the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to compile a report on Medicaid’s use of telemedicine for maternity care. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.

This bill was introduced by Representative Alma Adams [D-NC] to support the millions of families struggling with food insecurity. It would change the formula that determines Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to better account for real costs and need, increasing the baseline of SNAP benefits by about 30 percent. The bill would also support food insecure families by eliminating the cap on the Excess Shelter Deduction in the SNAP formula and would instead consider the cost of living. In areas with higher costs of living, the bill would permanently authorize a minimum standard medical deduction in every state for seniors and disabled individuals applying for benefits. Additionally, the bill would eliminate time-limits on benefits for all Americans and would extend SNAP benefits to US territories, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.

Introduced by Senator Robert Menendez [D-NJ], this bill would address racial and ethnic disparities in mental health care by establishing a grant program to support enhanced behavioral health services at Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Clinics and other providers serving a high proportion of individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups. Grant funding would also be allocated for programs that train students and professionals to provide culturally competent mental health care. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would be required to develop an education strategy that reduces stigma and promotes behavioral and mental health, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would conduct research on mental health disparities in racial and ethnic minority groups. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

Ascension has pledged $3 million to support a new online graduate program within the Conway School of Nursing at Catholic University of America, recognized by U.S News and World Report as one of the top online nursing programs in the nation. Ascension’s gift will help expand the curriculum to include Acute Care Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Programs that serve the growing population of older Americans and address shortages in nursing faculty and professionals.


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