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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: Kathryn Jantz, Accountable Health Communities Model Director with Rocky Mountain Health Plans, and Katherine Keir, Hawaii State Director with UnitedHealthcare, will be among the featured speakers at this year's National Summit. Click here to find out more about their presentation, "A Tale of Two Accountable Health Communities Models." 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

The Root Cause Coalition Releases New Health Equity Research ​Public insights research recently 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.

Social Determinants in the News

Implicit Bias in Medicine Results in Patient Care Access Barriers

A new survey from the Urban Institute found that over 3% of minority patients experienced unfair medical treatment and racial bias in medical settings. Patients who experienced rudeness, dismissiveness and discounting of symptoms were more likely to search for a new healthcare provider which often delayed necessary treatment. This illustrates for a diverse healthcare workforce and additional racism and implicit bias education for providers.

COVID-19 May Have Jumpstarted Broader Adoption of Telehealth for Mental Health

A recent report on the use of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic found that Hispanic and Latino populations were more likely to access telehealth for mental health conditions (compared to Black communities). The report underscores how telehealth can help address health equity gaps; the authors urge that trusted community resources, like churches, schools, and recreation centers, encourage the use and expansion of telehealth and mental health services.

Four Health Program Rules for Returning to The Workplace

As employees return to in-person office environments, this article encourages employers to reevaluate their company’s SDoH health programs. The author outlines how employers can implement a holistic care approach through active engagement, one that supports healthy habits and addresses employee burnout.

Socioeconomic privilege and political ideology are associated with racial disparity in COVID-19 vaccination

Researchers from the University of Maryland analyzed the role of SDoH in vaccine disparities, including: economic stability; education access and quality; health care access and quality; neighborhood and built environment, and social and community context. Results showed that COVID-19 vaccine disparities were most often associated with median income, education and political ideology.

Combatting Social Determinants of Health with Policy Changes

A new report from Trust for America’s Health provides federal and state-level policy recommendations to achieve health equity, including expanding access to high-quality health services, promoting economic mobility and ensuring access to affordable housing. The report highlights the need to move from focusing on individual behavior to improving the social and economic conditions that shape overall health.

Making Alternative Payment Models Work for Patients

The authors of this article urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to better center patients and their needs in the development and evaluation of alternate payment models (APMs) in order to build a more resilient health system. They provide three recommendations for integrating patient-centered elements into APMs, including emphasizing access to community, building capacity to address SDoH and increasing communication between providers and patients.

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.

Senate Passes Bipartisan Infrastructure Package

After months of negotiations, the Senate last week passed an infrastructure package. This package represents the largest investment in infrastructure in the nation's history. Funding would be provided to expand, improve and modernize roads and bridges, public transportation, drinking water systems, broadband access and environmental cleanup, among other priorities. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration, where it has a long road ahead since its future has been tied to a second infrastructure bill that would be passed through the reconciliation process.

Ways and Means Racial Equity Initiative Co-Chairs Share Initial Recommendations

In July, the co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee’s Racial Equity Initiative (REI), Representatives Steven Horsford [D-NV], Jimmy Gomez [D-CA], and Terri Sewell [D-AL], sent a memorandum to Chairman Richard E. Neal [D-MA] outlining priorities the initiative would like to see incorporated into future infrastructure legislation. The REI leads the Ways and Means Committee’s work to address the role of racism and other forms of discrimination in perpetuating health and economic inequalities in the United States. In the memo, the Co-Chairs share a wide range of recommendations, touching on issues such as transportation, housing, climate change mitigation, health care and community investment. To read the full memo, click here.

S.1234 - Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies Act

This bill was introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY] to address the maternal mortality crisis in the US. The bill would create a grant program within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide funding for health-professional training programs that address implicit bias in maternal healthcare delivery. When developing the requirements for these training programs, HHS would be required to collaborate with community-based health workers and organizations that specialize in health equity. Additionally, the bill would establish a grant program for the creation of state pregnancy medical home programs that deliver integrated services, improve health outcomes and reduce racial disparities in maternal healthcare. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

H.R.3904 - Reducing COVID–19 Disparities by Investing in Public Health Act

This bill was introduced by Representative Jahana Hayes [D-CT] and seeks to reduce health disparities associated with both the response to COVID-19 as well as future public health emergencies. To do this, the bill would appropriate additional funding for the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Fund, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the Office of Minority Health, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and other Offices of Minority Health within the Department of Health and Human Services. After introduction, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

Kaiser Permanente Awards Grants to Improve Food Access for Colorado Students

As a part of their Food for Life work, which addresses food insecurity across the nation, and their Thriving Schools initiative, which is designed to improve the health of school communities, Kaiser Permanente has awarded $300,000 in grants to help increase food distribution equity. The funding will go to 17 Colorado school districts; it will provide resources to purchase equipment for safe food storage and preparation, transportation for meal delivery in communities and advance efforts to enroll more students and families in federal food assistance programs.


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