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: email@example.com.
TRCC News and Upcoming Events
Applications for Health Justice Award Now Open TRCC recently announced the establishment of the Health Justice Award which will recognize and honor organizations that have successfully implemented a program or intervention to reduce health disparities within the past three years. The inaugural winner of the Award will receive $25,000 and will be formally recognized at TRCC’s Annual National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health in 2022. To learn more and apply, please click here. Voices from the Field Video Series Debut TRCC’s new five-video series, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shares the stories of those on whose behalf TRCC members work each day. Community Servings, God’s Love We Deliver, Loma Linda University Health, Presbyterian Healthcare Services and ProMedica participated in this video series, available here. New Consumer Insights Research Released TRCC’s consumer insights research continues to grow and highlight unique data points that can advance our collective advocacy efforts as well as general awareness and knowledge of these issues among the public. This month’s public insights research explores how individuals engage with technology to meet their basic needs. To access this month’s key findings and full report, please click here.
Advocacy Spotlight on Representative Underwood TRCC’s new advocacy Q&A series showcases Members of Congress and their work to advance health equity. This spotlight highlights Representative Lauren Underwood [D-IL], a champion of issues related to SDoH. To read the Q&A with Rep. Underwood, please click here. Virtual Summit Evaluation Survey Still Open Please click here to complete a short survey about your thoughts on TRCC’s 2021 National Summit and any ideas you have as we plan for next year’s event.
Social Determinants in the News
Twenty years of data found that the risk of cardiovascular disease was significantly higher among Black participants compared to white participants. These findings are most likely due to socioeconomic factors such as income, education, employment, and access to healthcare. The authors recommend additional research on the connection between social determinants and cardiovascular health.
This article highlights an online telehealth interprofessional education program (IPE) developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It focuses on the need to prepare students in health professions to deliver virtual care with the rapid expansion of telehealth services. The authors share lessons learned from their IPE and urge other universities to adapt their model. The goal is to expand care for rural and underserved communities during COVID-19 and beyond.
CVS Caremark recently launched efforts to better prevent, detect and treat sickle cell disease, HIV and cardiovascular disease. Partnering with community organizations and patient advocacy groups helps access to health services and treatment for these conditions while building on the company’s existing work to address SDoH and health inequities.
Nonprofit hospitals provide community benefits that aim protect or improve their community's health through programs that address SDoH. RTI International and the Milken Institute School of Public Health recently developed a new tool to promote transparency by collecting and sharing public data on these community benefit programs, which often include neighborhood revitalization, environmental improvements and free and reduced-cost health care and screenings. To see what’s happening in your state, please click here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CDPH) a five-year cooperative agreement that focuses on the impact of climate change on health. CDPH will establish a new Climate Change and Health Program that focuses on populations most vulnerable to the health effects of climate change with the goals of increasing community resiliency and preparing for the health impacts of future extreme weather events.
SDoH Advocacy Update
Negotiations continue on the Build Back Better Act, a human infrastructure package being developed and considered per reconciliation instructions in the fiscal year 2022 budget resolution. This package remains linked to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in August and includes a wide range of significant investments related to SDoH. The legislation would extend the expansion of the Child Tax Credit and make permanent the expansions of the earned income and child and dependent care tax credits in the American Rescue Plan (ARP). It would also allow Medicare negotiation on prescription prices, close the Medicaid coverage gap and expand Medicare coverage to include dental, vision and hearing benefits. Additionally, it would include investments to provide universal pre-K and ensure childcare access and equity, although universal paid family and medical leave is unlikely to be included in the final bill. Investments to improve affordable housing options, address maternal health issues and lower the costs of higher education will likely be included. On Wednesday, October 27th, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shared a letter with colleagues asking that the House Rules Committee hold a hearing on October 28th to advance the package.
Representatives Lauren Underwood [D-IL], Robin Kelly [D-IL], Alma Adams [D-NC], Senator Cory Booker [D-NJ] and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty [D-OH] urged House and Senate leadership to ensure investments from the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act are included in the final Build Back Better reconciliation package. The investments are intended to improve racial and ethnic maternal health disparities and advance birth equity, Members also urged leadership build on the progress made through the American Rescue Plan by including the permanent expansion of yearlong postpartum Medicaid coverage in every state. This letter reiterates maternal health priorities previously shared by these members in a sign-on letter earlier this year.
This bill, sponsored by Representative Jim McGovern [D-MA], would convene a second White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger, and Health that brings together representatives from across sectors to explore the impact of racial and geographic disparities on hunger, food and nutrition insecurity. Delegates would be tasked with identifying solutions to these issues and making policy recommendations on how to improve federal food and nutrition programs, build resilience in food systems and ultimately end hunger in the U.S by 2030. The bill was referred to the Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on Rules. To view TRCC’s previous sign-on letter supporting a White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger and Health, please click here.
Introduced by Senator Todd Young [R-IN], this bill would establish the Social Determinants Accelerator Interagency Council made up of leaders from federal, state and local agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private-sector businesses. The Council would work together to improve coordination of Federal programs that serve low-income and other vulnerable populations, develop cross-sector interventions and strategies that address SDoH while increasing the cost-effectiveness of health and social service programs. Additionally, the bill would provide the opportunity for grants to state, local and tribal governments seeking to implement social determinants accelerator plans. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.
The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight
Dr. Ling Na, Assistant Professor of Public Health at The University of Toledo, recently published a study in Disability and Health Journal analyzing the association between the number of disabilities an individual experiences and their level of mental distress. The findings suggest a significant unmet need for mental health services among those with disabilities and calls on policymakers and clinicians to develop improved health education and interventions for this population.