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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

Save the Date! TRCC’s Virtual Summit

Mark your calendars now as TRCC’ National (Virtual) Summit that will be held October 4-6, 2021 from noon – 5 p.m. ET, each day. Thanks to all those who submitted a proposal to present at the 6th National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health! Submissions selected for presentation will be confirmed in April, and the registration portal will be launched May 3rd. Watch this space for continued updates!

Last year’s virtual event brought together more than 650 representatives from healthcare, community and faith-based organizations, researchers, government leaders, educators and businesses to share best practices and resources, offer connections and engage in crucial discussions around the social determinants of health (SDoH).

Please Share Your Covid-19 Stories!

The Root Cause Coalition is continuing its Accelerated Response Briefs (ARB), a series that highlights TRCC members’ initiatives, programs and policies throughout the pandemic. TRCC members interested in being featured in a future ARB should contact Alex Lewin-Zwerdling at

Social Determinants in the News

Community-based care key for future patient engagement

CVS Health’s 2021 Health Trends report highlights the importance of community-based care in fostering positive health outcomes. The report underscores the importance of the social determinants of health, the most significant barriers to care.

Cardiovascular disease risk factors high in minority populations

Research published in Stroke found that less than half of Hispanic and Latino stroke survivors had healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Between 2015 and 2018, the report found that 52.3% of Hispanic men and 42.7% of Hispanic women aged 20 and older were living with cardiovascular disease. This study builds on American Heart Association’s recent efforts to better understand health disparities and improve care gaps.

New multi-sector collaboration aims to build a healthier Milwaukee

IMPACT, the provider of 211 information and referral services in Southeastern Wisconsin, has announced their collaboration with local health systems, community organizations and technology company NowPow to improve health equity and health outcomes throughout the city of Milwaukee. The partnership will produce a shared digital platform that fosters cross-sector collaboration to support access to healthcare, food, housing, child welfare, mental health care and more.

AHIP, BCBSA pilot supports equitable COVID-19 vaccine delivery

America’s Health Insurance Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association have announced a commitment to utilize data, partnerships and member engagement platforms to ensure an equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. The initiative – Vaccine Community Connectors – will vaccinate Americans ages 65 and older residing in vulnerable and underserved communities.

AMA calls for COVID-19 vaccine data to ensure racial health equity

In an open letter to health care professionals, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Pharmacists Association have joined together to support the collection and reporting of race and ethnicity data regarding the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

How community development financing can help support healthier neighborhoods

The Pew Charitable Trusts share examples of community development projects that highlight how community development efforts must reflect community concerns. They stress health equity when making funding decisions and provide additional mechanisms to link health to community development in order to advance more equitable outcomes.

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.

Final Vote for Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Moves Ahead

On March 18, 2021 the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve as the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the first Latino to serve in this role. Becerra was a member of the House of Representatives where he served as a member of the Ways and Means Committee’s health subcommittee. As the California Attorney General, he led efforts to protect affordable healthcare access and coverage. And as Secretary of HHS, Becerra will be tasked with carrying out the Biden Administration's ongoing efforts to promote health equity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

H.R. 1268 - Building COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Act of 2021

Introduced by Representative Nydia Velazquez [D-NY], this bill works to build confidence and combat vaccine hesitancy in communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The bill directs the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide grants to state, local, territorial, and tribal health departments, as well as nonprofits and other community-based organizations, to promote transparency and public education about the COVID-19 vaccine. Grants would be used to conduct culturally and linguistically appropriate campaigns to disseminate scientific and evidence-based information related to COVID-19 vaccine safety and availability. The campaigns would target racial and ethnic minority communities and communities with higher than average COVID-19 Community Vulnerability Index scores. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

S. 404 - Coronavirus Housing Counseling Improvement Act

Introduced by Senator Robert Menendez [D-NJ], this bill allocates additional funding to the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program which promotes reinvestment in communities across the country. At least 40 percent of the funding must be provided to organizations that supply resources to minority and low-income homeowners and renters, individuals experiencing homelessness and individuals at risk of homelessness. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

S.19 - FEED Act

Introduced by Senator Tim Scott [R-SC], this bill allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to partner with small and mid-size restaurants and nonprofit organizations to provide nutritious meals and meet increased demand for food assistance during COVID-19. The FEED Act would raise the Federal Government cost share to state and local governments to 100 percent and help local restaurants whose business has been affected by the pandemic. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

A Year of COVID – How Houston Food Bank Responded to the Pandemic to Help the Community

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Houston Food Bank has provided nearly 273 million pounds of food - nearly one million pounds of food per day. The foodbank has found new ways to meet community needs through home delivery kits, drive-through models, neighborhood super site distributions, produce distributions and direct household distributions. Partnerships with United Airlines, United Way/Greater Houston Community Foundation and the YMCA of Greater Houston were the backbone of these food distribution efforts. Brian Greene, President and CEO of Houston Food Bank, stated that “We had to find ways to distribute more food with increased restrictions, how to do more with less volunteers, and how to do it all while adhering to strict health and safety protocols. The solution was to pivot and pull from our ‘disaster playbook’ to accomplish the same goals in new ways that met with our new as-contactless-as-possible world.”


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