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

TRCC Applauds Black Maternal Health Caucus The Coalition sent a letter of congratulations to the Black Maternal Health Caucus for the House passage of the Build Back Better Act. This Act includes every eligible provision of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act along with the extension of yearlong postpartum Medicaid coverage in every state. We encourage swift passage of this bill in the Senate, as maternal health is one of the Coalition’s top priorities and these investments are a critical step towards addressing the Black maternal health crisis in this country. For further details on the Build Back Better Act, please refer to the advocacy section below. New Consumer Insights Research Released TRCC’s public insights research continues to grow, with a just-released report on the relationship between climate, health and well-being. Among the many striking findings is that three-quarters of Americans are at least somewhat concerned about being affected by severe weather. Click here to access this month’s key findings and full report; to view a brief webinar overview of the research, click here. Apply Today for TRCC's Health Justice Award TRCC recently announced the establishment of the Health Justice Award, recognizing 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 honored at TRCC’s Annual National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health in 2022. To learn more and apply, please click here.


Social Determinants in the News

Health Communities Delaware launches statewide partner summit Healthy Communities Delaware, a consortium of public, nonprofit and private organizations in Delaware committed to improving the health and wellbeing of low-income communities, hosted their first in a series of events convening a statewide conversation among nearly 100 community partners. The goal of this series is to bring together community partners, funders, residents and other leaders to build capacity and work collectively to improve community vitality, education, food security, financial health and affordable housing. Low-Income ZIP Codes Tied to Lack of Access to Care, SDOH New research shows that patients living in low-income ZIP codes are significantly less likely than patients in high-income ZIP codes to schedule an annual wellness visit, even though low-income patients are often the most in need of preventive care. These patients often face systemic barriers including lack of insurance and difficulty obtaining time off from work for appointments, making it even more difficult to access necessary care and contributing to the disproportionate development of chronic conditions. SNAP Can Slash Healthcare Costs. But How to Boost Enrollment? This article discusses a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showing that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) not only combats food insecurity but can also help lower Medicaid costs. The study found that elderly adults in North Carolina who were enrolled in SNAP were less likely to go to the hospital, need long-term care or go to the emergency room which in turn lowered Medicaid costs by an average of $2,360 per person. The author notes that food banks can play a critical role helping to enroll clients as SNAP participants. Grant to Increase Access to Healthcare in Underserved Wards The United Health Foundation awarded a three-year grant to Children’s National Hospital that will improve access to healthcare in Washington, DC’s Wards 7 and 8. These wards have some of the largest health inequities in Washington, DC with higher rates of child poverty, asthma, obesity and more. Funding will bring together school nurses in DC Public Schools and community health workers that connect children and families to health services including well-child visits, vaccinations and vision, hearing, behavioral health and developmental screenings.


SDOH Advocacy Update

COVID-⁠19 Health Equity Task Force Submits Final Report In January, President Joe Biden issued an executive order to establish a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force chaired by Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith. In November, the Task Force delivered its final report with recommendations to address the inequitable health outcomes that communities of color and other underserved populations have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. These recommendations include: invest in community-led solutions to address health equity; enforce a data ecosystem that promotes equity-driven decision making; increase accountability for health equity outcomes; invest in a representative health care workforce and increase equitable access to quality health care for all, and lead and coordinate implementation of the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force’s recommendations with a permanent health equity infrastructure in the White House. Along with the release of the report, the Biden Administration announced a new set of investments that would help carry out these recommendations while promoting equity across the federal government. President Biden Signs Infrastructure Bill into Law On Monday, November 15th, President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. This bipartisan package will provide funding to modernize roads, bridges and transit systems and improve accessibility of public transportation. It will also expand the use of electric cars and buses, help communities mitigate climate change and address the public health harms of pollution through environmental remediation. The bill will also improve drinking water infrastructure and invest in high-speed internet to ensure that every household can access reliable broadband service. To view a comprehensive overview of the infrastructure deal, click here and for a specific look at the environmental justice provisions, click here. Reconciliation Updates The House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act (BBB) last week, though it's likely to face challenges in the Senate around paid leave and overall costs which would send it back to the House for another vote. The version passed by the House has a price tag of $1.75 trillion and includes a wide range of significant investments related to SDoH including a year-long extension of both the expansion of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. It would also lower premiums for those enrolled in Affordable Care Act Marketplace plans, close the Medicaid coverage gap and expand Medicare coverage to include hearing benefits. Additionally, it would include investments to provide universal preschool, ensure child care access and equity, improve affordable housing options and address maternal health issues. The bill would include four weeks of paid family and medical leave and would allow Medicare Part D to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies for the first time in its history. S.796 - Protecting Moms Who Served Act of 2021 This bill, introduced by Senator Tammy Duckworth [D-IL], is now heading to President Joe Biden’s desk after being passed in the House last week. It will codify and strengthen maternity care coordination within the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure delivery of high-quality maternal and mental health care for pregnant and postpartum veterans. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will also conduct a study on maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity among pregnant and postpartum veterans, with a particular focus on racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes for veterans. This is the first bill in the Black Maternal Health Momnibus, led by Representative Lauren Underwood and Senator Cory Booker, to pass through Congress and become law.


The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

United Way Worldwide Featured as Innovator for Ride United Last Mile Delivery Initiative United Way Worldwide has been recognized by Innovation Leader for their Ride United Last Mile delivery initiative - a partnership with DoorDash - that has so far delivered more than 8.1 million meals. The meal delivery program meets the needs of underserved communities and those who face transportation barriers or are immunocompromised by serving food pantry boxes, meals and other household essentials.

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Launched this year, the Health Justice Award recognizes organizations that have successfully implemented a program or intervention to reduce health disparities. This marks a new and significant way fo