The Root Cause Coalition Weekly Bulletin

Happy 2022 to our readers! We hope you had a nice, restful holiday season. TRCC will continue to share these newsletters weekly, except for holidays. As always, let us know if you have ways to improve or add to these updates.

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

As Deadline Approaches, 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, held in Minneapolis, this October 2nd – 4th. To learn more and apply before January 31st, please click here. Check Out TRCC's First Annual Health Equity and Social Determinants: Trends, Attitudes and Perspectives Research Report 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. TRCC’s New “About Us” Overview Available on Our Website Check out TRCC’s updated overview “Working Collaboratively to Achieve Health Equity and Health Justice by Addressing the Social Determinants of Health” that describes TRCC’s work, mission and initiatives. Please share with colleagues and other organizations interested in learning more about TRCC.


Social Determinants in the News

Year in review: Disparities in health care With another year of the pandemic, health disparities were an even bigger topic of conversation in 2021. This article highlights stories that illustrate the burden of health care disparities in the U.S. They explore the impact of race on range of topics including healthcare spending and patient experiences, life expectancy, COVID rates and surgery outcomes along with recommendations on how to reduce these disparities. Community Health Worker Initiative to Address Health Disparities This article highlights a new partnership formed between Ohio University and the Jackson County Health Department to provide community members with advocacy training and health care resources and that will expand the number of community health workers in Southeast Ohio. This region has a higher rate of health disparities due in part to a lack of trust in healthcare providers and institutions. The goal of the program is to address these issues by training those who have already established relationships within the community, allowing them to increase health literacy and improve health outcomes. Health Action Centers Commemorate 100 Year Anniversary This article highlights the East Harlem Health Action Center, a place-based public health site that brings together health care providers, city agencies and community-based organizations and programs under one roof. One of three across the boroughs, these Action Centers are a part of New York City's effort to promote health equity and reduce health disparities by providing healthcare services, referrals to community partners and programs focusing on health and wellness including childbirth and newborn care classes.

NIH Announces Listening Sessions to Inform Efforts on Achieving Racial and Ethnic Equity Throughout January, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be hosting public listening sessions to learn about the full range of issues and challenges associated with advancing racial and ethnic equity in the field of biomedical research. These events are being held as a part of UNITE, the initiative launched by NIH in 2021 to address structural racism and ethnicity-based discrimination in NIH-supported entities and the greater scientific community. Click here to register and share your thoughts with NIH.


SDOH Advocacy Update

Reconciliation Updates Though the Build Back Better Act (BBB) didn’t make it through the Senate before the holidays, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed last week that negotiations will continue in order to find a path forward for the legislation. Currently, intra-party disagreement around several key provisions and overall costs of the package has prevented Schumer from gathering the 50 votes necessary for the bill’s passage. 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 current 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.6268 - Protect Black Women and Girls Act of 2021 This bill was introduced by Representative Robin Kelly [D-IL] to address disparities among Black women and girls across a wide range of social determinant issues. The bill would establish an Interagency Task Force to examine the conditions and experiences of Black women and girls in education, economic development, healthcare and maternal health, labor and employment, housing, and civil rights. This group would be tasked with providing policy and programmatic recommendations at the federal, state and local levels that best promote community-based methods for mitigating and addressing harm to Black women and girls. Additionally, the bill would direct the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to conduct a study on the effects of economic, health, criminal justice, and social services on Black women and girls. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary in addition to the Committees on Education, Labor, Energy and Commerce and Financial Services.

S.3431 - Revitalizing the Aging Network Act This bill was introduced by Senator Mark Kelly [D-AZ] to build on the investments made by the American Rescue Plan and strengthen vital services for seniors. The bill would allocate funding to expand supportive services for seniors related to health, transportation, housing, in-home care and nutrition. It would invest in the aging services workforce along with construction and modernization of senior centers and intergenerational shared-site models. Additionally, the bill would support technical assistance and resource development related to culturally appropriate care management and services for older individuals with the greatest social need, including racial and ethnic minority individuals and those who are undeserved due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

H.R. 4026 - Social Determinants of Health Data Analysis Act of 2021 This bill, introduced by Representative Michael Burgess [R-TX], would require a report on actions taken by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address social determinants. The report would include recommendations to foster private-public partnerships and leverage private sector efforts to address social determinants. It would also include an analysis of privacy measures as part of SDoH data collection. In December, the bill was passed by the House and received in the Senate where it was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.


The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

Vancouver Clinic and Humana Introduce New Primary Care Practice Designed to Enhance Medicare Advantage Experience Vancouver Clinic and Humana have teamed up to expand access to patient-focused primary care in Oregon by opening a new clinic, Enliven, that provides more convenient care to patients. The clinic is a part of Humana’s holistic approach to healthcare and will offer integrated care teams that include doctors, nurses, health coaches, nutritionists, medication management, and social service resources.

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Each month, The Root Cause Coalition conducts a public insights survey to gauge attitudes, perceptions and experiences with a variety of social determinants of health issues. The findings help inform