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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
TRCC News and Upcoming Events
Rules Committee Food is Medicine Roundtable On September 1st, TRCC Executive Director Barbara Petee testified in front of the House Rules Committee. This event was part of a roundtable series, led by Committee Chairman McGovern, examining the steps Congress and the Biden administration can take to help end food insecurity in America, and TRCC has been actively engaged with Chairman McGovern on numerous fronts, relative to this issue. Karen Pearl and Dr. Trenor Williams, from TRCC partner organizations God’s Love We Deliver and Socially Determined, also testified during this roundtable. The event can be viewed here. TRCC Releases its Latest Public Insights Report: America’s Understanding of Place Falls Short In this just-released TRCC research report, Americans’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviors around poverty and SDoH are examined. Interestingly, while most Americans indicated that neighborhood has a large impact on whether one lives in poverty, over half report no familiarity with life expectancy gaps based on ZIP code. Regular Registration for the National Summit Closes This Week! Register today for TRCC’s 6th National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health, held virtually October 4-6, 2021. Click here to register at the regular registration price which ends this Wednesday, September 15th at 11:59pm PST. 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 series of short videos 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 email@example.com. Applications for National Summit Student Scholarships Are Now Open! Applications are still open for the "Vision for Health Equity Scholarship!" This scholarship covers the full registration costs of this year’s Virtual National Summit. Medical residents, graduate or undergraduate students pursuing a degree, coursework or career in a field related to health equity or the social determinants of health are encouraged to apply and join us for this year's event. To learn more and complete your application, please click here."
Social Determinants in the News
Affordable housing tied to better heart health Cities and counties with zoning policies that encourage affordable housing are home to fewer residents with high blood pressure and high cholesterol compared to communities without these programs, a new study suggests. People living in places with such zoning policies are also less likely to be taking blood-pressure medication or to have already developed coronary heart disease.
Social and Economic Circumstances Recognized by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force as SDoH In a recent report published in JAMA Network, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) shared recommendations on depression, drug use, violence, and other social risks as determinants of health. The recommendations were developed to help identify those who are subject to certain social and economic risk factors but show no signs of risk. The report provides a foundation for ongoing work to create preventive health care and address health inequities.
Adding a Climate Lens to Health Policy in the United States This article highlights the impact of climate change on access to health care and encourages health policymakers to apply a climate lens to future legislation. The authors outline various health inequities that have been exacerbated by climate change and measures that can be taken to mitigate these harms.
How digital health can help refugees access medical care This article highlights the need for continued work to better provide refugees with adequate healthcare. For example, telehealth has helped connect providers with patients who are otherwise out of reach from receiving care. The authors outline how telehealth services can provide preventive treatment and has connected refugees with healthcare services and various organizations working to provide housing.
HHS unveils office to treat climate change as a health issue The Department of Health and Human Services announced the establishment of the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, created to address climate change as a public health issue. The Office will evaluate the impact of climate change on health and will play a central role in climate-related work across HHS to advance health equity and environmental justice.
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.3894 - CARING for Social Determinants Act of 2021 Introduced by Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester [D-DE], this bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to regularly update guidance to states regarding strategies to address social determinants of health under the Medicaid program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). HHS would also be required to share guidance and technical assistance on how states can encourage and incentivize managed care organizations to address social determinants. The bill was considered and approved by the Committee on Energy and Commerce. S.1675 - Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act This bill from Senator Raphael Warnock [D-GA] was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar this summer and was assigned a score by the Congressional Budget Office last week. It would establish a grant program for organizations working to improve maternal health care quality, eliminate preventable maternal mortality and address SDoH that impact maternal health outcomes. It would also allocate funding for racial and ethnic bias trainings in schools and teaching programs and would 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 and integrated healthcare services for pregnant and postpartum individuals. HR 1904 - Broadband Justice Act of 2021 This bill was introduced by Representative Jamaal Bowman [D-NY] to advance digital equity and close the digital divide. The bill would update utility allowance definitions to include broadband as a subsidized utility, recognizing broadband as a basic utility alongside water, gas and electric. In addition, it would update subsidized housing infrastructure by retrofitting units with the necessary wiring for high-quality broadband. It would establish a grant program to support broadband installation along with providing resident assistance for the utilization of broadband services. The bill was referred to the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Ways and Means. S. 644 - Rural Hospital Closure Relief Act of 2021 Introduced by Senator Richard Durbin [D-IL], this bill would expand access to healthcare in underserved communities by supporting and stabilizing rural hospitals. It would provide flexibility around the 35-mile distance requirement that allows states to certify a hospital as a “necessary provider” in order to obtain Medicare's Critical Access Hospital (CAH) designation. It would also require the testing and implementation of a new rural hospital delivery and payment model (or models) to promote financially sustainable ways to ensure patient access to care in rural communities. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.
The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight
Benefits Data Trust and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Collaborate to Connect Unemployed Workers to Food and Other Assistance Benefits Data Trust and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services are working together to conduct targeted outreach to those who were denied, have lost, or are about to lose, unemployment. The outreach is designed to alert individuals of potential food assistance eligibility benefits. Individuals are then connected with resources to help apply for various assistance programs.