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
TRCC’s First Annual Health Equity and Social Determinants: Trends, Attitudes and Perspectives (TAP!) Research Report Released Today! Throughout 2021, TRCC conducted a series of national surveys to explore Trends, Attitudes and Perspectives (TAP) about health equity and related issues. These monthly pulse surveys have tested attitudes and perceptions regarding specific aspects of health equity including hunger, poverty, technology, climate change, and how COVID-19 continues to affect individual and public health. This new report includes the key takeaways and trends, along with additional considerations including several calls to action for TRCC and its members. Apply Today for TRCC's Health Justice Award TRCC’s Health Justice Award recognizes organizations that have successfully implemented a program or intervention to reduce health disparities within the past three years. The inaugural winner of this new 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
Around the nation: White House pledges $1.5 billion to grow and diversify health care workforce The Biden-Harris Administration announced $1.5 billion dollars allocated towards loan repayment assistance and scholarships for those serving in the National Health Service Corps, Nurse Corps and Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery programs and who serve in underserved tribal, rural and urban communities. These Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) programs are designed to improve health equity by connecting skilled providers with communities in need of care. NJHA analysis shows social determinants predicted communities most impacted by pandemic The New Jersey Hospital Association recently updated their New Jersey Vulnerable Communities Database that aggregates data on twenty SDoH indicators including education, employment, and food and housing security. It allows users to compare the relative performance of New Jersey zip code’s based on these measures. Results from the update revealed that the communities identified as the state’s most vulnerable based on health and social indicators were also the areas that felt the greatest impact and density of COVID-19 cases. Racial Equity Will Not Be Achieved Without Investing in Data Disaggregation This article highlights the need for disaggregated clinical data so that individuals of all ethnicities are represented and accounted for in public health databases. The failure to collect nuanced data allows for misinformed policies that ultimately mask and perpetuate disparities. The author calls for further investment in data equity to help further health equity in all communities.
Policies for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis in the US The Commonwealth Fund’s recent report lays out a multifaceted policy approach to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality and to advance maternal health equity. These policies include making investments to address SDoH and expand telehealth services, growing and diversifying the perinatal workforce, refining data collection and quality measures, promoting payment models that incentivize high value maternity care and improving maternal health care and support for veterans and incarcerated women.
SDOH Advocacy Update
Reconciliation Updates Before the Thanksgiving recess, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act (BBB) which is now under consideration in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hopes the Senate will pass the BBB before Christmas but this timeline is complicated by intra-party disagreement around a number of key provisions and overall costs in addition to upcoming fiscal deadlines that need to be addressed first. The version of the bill passed by the House has a price tag of $1.75 trillion and includes 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 House version would also 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. H.R.951 - Maternal Vaccination Act Introduced by Representative Terri Sewell [D-AL], this bill would establish a national campaign to focus on increasing maternal vaccination rates in communities with historically high rates of unvaccinated individuals. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would be required to work in partnership with trusted individuals and entities including community-based organizations and community health centers to develop evidence-based, culturally competent resources and communications efforts. Pregnant and postpartum individuals in communities with historically high rates of unvaccinated individuals would also be consulted on the development and effectiveness of the campaign. The bill passed the House last week and now moves to the Senate for consideration. H.Res. 784 - Resolution on Medical Education This resolution was introduced by Representative Jim McGovern [D-MA] to recognize the growing personal and financial burden of diet-related diseases and the need to better incorporate nutrition into medical education. The resolution calls on medical schools, residency programs, fellowships and other health professional training programs to provide meaningful nutrition education that demonstrates the connection between diet and disease and develops the skills necessary to initiate meaningful nutrition interventions and referrals. It also emphasizes the need for research that assesses the status of nutrition education across healthcare training and the role that federal agencies can play to share best practices and raise awareness of the critical role that nutrition plays in health outcomes. The resolution was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Ways and Means. S.796 - Protecting Moms Who Served Act of 2021 Last week, the first bill in the Black Maternal Momnibus was officially be signed into law. Introduced by introduced by Senator Tammy Duckworth [D-IL], it codifies and strengthens 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) is also tasked with conducting 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.
The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight
No Kid Hungry Works to Improve Nutrition and Health Outcomes in Rural Louisiana Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign, in partnership with Aetna Better Health of Louisiana, Louisiana State University Extension and Vouchers 4 Veggies, has been awarded a USDA grant to launch their Healthy Families Rx initiative. This initiative weaves food and nutrition into preventative health care visits. Healthy Families Rx will incorporate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) referrals, nutrition counseling and Produce Rx vouchers into well-child visit protocols for Medicaid and will ultimately impact more than 4,000 Louisianans.