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: contact@rootcausecoalition.org.

TRCC News and Upcoming Events

The Root Cause Coalition Releases New Consumer Insight Research

​Research just released by The Root Cause Coalition shows broad support for U.S. nutrition assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Click here to learn more and access the full Nutrition Insecurity, Hunger and America’s Policy Priorities research report.

Congressman McGovern and The Root Cause Coalition Call for White House Hunger Conference In case you missed it, 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 last month. 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: Deanna Minus-Vincent, Senior Vice President, Chief Social Integration and Health Equity Strategist at RWJBarnabas Health, will be a featured speaker during the National Summit on Wednesday, October 6th. Click here to learn more about her session "Breaking Barriers and Battling Bias: Why health equity and antiracism must go hand-in-hand" 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 mflores@rootcausecoalition.org.

Social Determinants in the News

New Report Outlines Role of Social Determinants in Americans' Health

A recent report reviewed five policy areas related to SDoH and their impact on improving access to healthcare. The findings from the report call on policy makers to address social conditions in communities preventing them from accessing high-quality healthcare services; this includes, for example, the expansion of programs such as Medicaid, low-income housing tax credits and high-quality early education programs.

A Case Study of The Virginia COVID-19 Equity Leadership Task Force and Health Equity Working Group

This brief provides an overview of equity and inclusion as part of Virginia’s infrastructure response to COVID-19. Information about key successes and lessons learned is provided as well as a discussion of the COVID-19 Equity Leadership Task Force’s strategies to provide equitable COVID-19 resource allocation, build public-private partnerships and apply a data-driven approach to addressing health disparities.

Keeping Our Promise — Supporting Trainees from Groups That Are Underrepresented in Medicine

This article recommends structural changes academic hospitals could make to broaden racial and ethnic representation among trainees. The goal is to mitigate implicit bias within medical professionals and improve patient-provider relationships. Areas to improve medical training programs are outlined, including leadership and infrastructure to support diversity, system-level changes, structural competency and advocacy training, and bias-reporting mechanisms.

U.S. News & World Report: Racial Disparities Persist in Hospital Care

This article evaluates the Best Hospital rankings recently published by the U.S. News & World Report andfinds that racial and ethnic minority populations are less likely to receive preventive treatment. Barriers, including lack of access and communications challenges, are still driving racial gaps among preventable hospitalizations.

Income-Based Health Disparities Persist Despite Shared Genetics

A recent study finds that people with higher-incomes, regardless of family environment, are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than their lower-income counterparts. Siblings and twins who had more commonalities in early life and genetic disposition were analyzed to determine the impact of the wealth gap. Researchers found siblings and twins with higher midlife net worth were less likely to experience health issues and inequality.


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.Res.568 - Unhoused Bill of Rights

This resolution from Representative Cori Bush [D-MO] acknowledges the disproportionate impact of homelessness on Black, Indigenous and other marginalized communities and calls on ​​Congress to end the homelessness crisis by 2025. The measure expresses congressional support for the fundamental civil and human rights of unhoused individuals and urges the declaration of homelessness as a public health emergency in need of additional resources. The resolution was referred to the Committee on Financial Services, and in addition to the Committees on Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor, the Judiciary, Agriculture, and Ways and Means.

S.2004 - Basic Assistance for Students In College Act

This bill was introduced by Senator Alex Padilla [D-CA] to support institutions of higher education by identifying and meeting the needs of students outside of the classroom. The bill would require the Department of Education to coordinate with the Departments of Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services to identify students who may be eligible for federal safety net programs and assist in their enrollment. The bill would also provide funding for planning grants for the development of strategies and infrastructure that reduce student food insecurity, housing insecurity and homelessness. Implementation grants would also be awarded to carry out programs that include student access to free or subsidized food, secure sleeping arrangements, and temporary housing or priority access to existing on-campus childcare. Funding is reserved for community colleges, institutions with higher Pell enrollments and Minority Serving Institutions. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

H.R.4387 - Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act of 2021

Introduced by Representative Robin Kelly [D-IL], this bill would address the maternal health crisis by establishing a grant program for organizations working to improve maternal health care quality. It would allocate funding for racial and ethnic bias trainings in health care professional schools and teaching programs; it would also 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, obstetric innovation networks and integrated healthcare services for pregnant and postpartum individuals, especially those in rural areas. The bill was passed out of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in late July.

S. 1958 - Doctors of Community Act

This bill was introduced by Senator Patty Murray 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. This program supports the training of primary care medical and dental residents in community-based settings, such as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics. 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 Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

Oregon Food Bank Honors Culture and Identity through Relevant, Versatile Food

The Oregon Food Bank has strengthened its commitment to equity and racial justice by developing a food distribution partnership with the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO). Members at the Oregon Food Bank and APANO identified critical needs not being met among low-income seniors in Asian communities and sourced hundreds of culturally-relevant meals to be packed and distributed to more than 350 families.

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