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The Root Cause Coalition Weekly Bulletin

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.

Please note: This bulletin is being published today in observance of yesterday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

If you have information to share, please email us:

TRCC News and Upcoming Events

Sign Up for TRCC’s New Public Insights Webinar: Mental Health and Well-Being Join The Root Cause Coalition, in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital Association, for a webinar on our latest public insights research. Speakers will share unique research findings about how the public considers and is affected by mental health issues. The Children’s Hospital Association will also share an update on their Sound the Alarm for Kids initiative. The webinar will be held January 25th, Noon – 1 p.m. ET. Register here today! The research will be released the same day, prior to the webinar. TRCC Welcomes Sponsors for 2022 National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health Resuming as an in-person gathering for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, the 2022 Summit will focus on achieving health equity. This year’s prospectus has been carefully curated to provide sponsors with unique opportunities that enhance professional relationships and can help reinforce sponsors as a leader in the health equity space. Please reach out to Madison Flores at for more information. 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 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 2-4th. To learn more and apply before January 31st, please click here. 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

Addressing Nutrition and Food Access in Medicaid The Food Trust, Population Health Alliance (PHA) and The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law (CHLPI) recently released Addressing Nutrition and Food Access in Medicaid, a report that highlights funding opportunities from state Medicaid programs with the goal of improving access to nutrition interventions in health care settings. Click here to register for a webinar on this topic, to be held January 21st, at 1 p.m. EST. Texas Health Resources Joins AHA National Collaborative Texas Health Resources, a nonprofit health system, recently announced their participation in the American Hospital Association (AHA)’s Hospital Community Collaborative, a program that partners AHA member hospitals with cross-sector partners to address community-level health disparities. Facilitated by AHA, partners will work to increase access to healthy food, decrease depression and anxiety as well as improve resource navigation in high-needs areas throughout communities. CVS Backs Housing for People with Developmental Disabilities As a part of their work to address SDoH at the community level, CVS Health has invested in the development of an apartment complex in Austin, Texas that will offer 171 units to individuals experiencing homelessness, or persons with physical, intellectual or developmental disabilities. Free services will also be provided to residents of this complex, including employment and food assistance as well as mental and physical health resources. Medical Schools See Record Enrollment of Black Students in 2021 Though only 5% of doctors in the U.S. are Black, a new report revealed the number of first-year Black medical students has increased by 21% since 2020. As noted by the Association of Medical Colleges, this historic increase is likely due to changes in medical schools’ admission procedures which address disparities by putting less emphasis on test scores, allowing students remote interview options and waiving application fees. Increasing diversity in medical staff has been shown to improve patient experiences and health outcomes for communities of color and has become an increasingly urgent priority in medical education.

SDOH Advocacy Update

S.3422 - Expanding Medical Education Act Introduced by Senator Tim Kaine [D-VA], this bill would increase access to care by providing grant funding for colleges and universities to establish or expand medical schools in medically underserved communities, health professional shortage areas or at minority-serving institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Grants would be administered by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and could be used for the planning and construction of new medical schools or branch campuses in areas where no other school is based. Funding could also be used for hiring diverse faculty and staff along with the recruitment, enrollment and retention of students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, students from rural and underserved areas, low-income students and first-generation college students. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. H.R.3894 - CARING for Social Determinants Act of 2021 Introduced by Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester [D-DE], this bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to regularly update state-specific regarding strategies to address SDoH under the Medicaid program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). HHS would also be required to share guidance and technical assistance that addresses how states can encourage and incentivize managed care organizations’ efforts to address social determinants. The bill was passed by the House in December, received in the Senate, and referred to the Committee on Finance. S.198 - Data Mapping to Save Moms' Lives Act This bill was introduced by Senator Jacky Rosen [D-NV] to address the maternal mortality crisis in the U.S. It would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to map areas in the United States that have both broadband service gaps and high rates of poor maternal health outcomes. This information would then be used to help identify where improved access to telehealth services could be most effective. It would also require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study and submit a report to Congress on the connection between internet connectivity and reduced maternal morbidity rates. The bill was passed by the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar in December 2021. H.R.5477 - Federal Agency Climate PREP Act This bill was introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney [D-NY] and would require Climate Action Plans from federal agencies. These plans would address the disproportionate economic and health impacts of climate change on disadvantaged communities with direct input from the affected populations. It would also establish an Interagency Council on Federal Agency Climate Planning, Resilience and Enhanced Preparedness to develop, recommend and coordinate efforts that help combat the climate crisis and protect public health. Additionally, the bill would codify the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy to coordinate domestic climate policymaking. The bill was considered and approved by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

OSF Pandemic Health Navigators Provide COVID-19 Support This article highlights the work of OSF OnCall, a digital care platform from OSF Healthcare. The program uses community health workers to connect individuals and families with COVID-19 to community resources such as food, income assistance and household items. The program has aided nearly 7,000 individuals and their families and delivered nearly 3,000 COVID-19 care kits with essential household products across the northwest region of Illinois.


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