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


Save the Date! TRCC’s Virtual Summit Mark your calendars now as TRCC’s National (Virtual) Summit will be held October 4-6, 2021 from noon – 5 p.m. ET, each day. Thanks to all those who submitted a proposal to present at the 6th National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health! Submissions selected for presentation will be confirmed in April, and the registration portal will be launched May 3rd. Watch this space for continued updates.

Last year’s virtual event brought together more than 650 representatives from healthcare, community and faith-based organizations, researchers, government leaders, educators and businesses to share best practices and resources, offer connections and engage in crucial discussions around the social determinants of health (SDoH).


Check out TRCC’s New Website!

We are excited to share that TRCC’s website has a new look. Check it out when you have a minute, and of course head there for the latest TRCC news and updates. Please Share Your Covid-19 Stories! The Root Cause Coalition is continuing its Accelerated Response Briefs (ARB), a series that highlights TRCC members’ initiatives, programs and policies throughout the pandemic. TRCC members interested in being featured in a future ARB should contact Alex Lewin-Zwerdling at alexandra@rootcausecoalition.org.


Social Determinants in the News


Counting patients’ social determinants of health could prevent fatal heart attacks

Over the course of 10 years, researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital tracked the health outcomes of 22,000 people to better understand the impact of social and economic barriers to healthcare on long-term wellness. The study showed that additional socioeconomic barriers to care led to a higher risk of death from stroke or heart disease compared to those without these same barriers. The authors urge the incorporation of SDoH into both social services and clinical care.


Community health centers, FQHCs step up in vaccine health equity

Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) have helped ensure equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution. According to an analysis conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 50% of patients received their first COVID-19 vaccine at an FQHC. Of this 50%, over half were people of color with over one-quarter of vaccinations going to Hispanic individuals, 12% to non-Hispanic Blacks, 10% to Asians and 4% who identified as more than one race.

Partnership improves care coordination and patient outcomes in underserved populations

PatientPing, a health care collaboration platform, has partnered with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers to provide real-time notifications to community health centers throughout the state. Notifications highlight patient care events and streamline care coordination efforts regardless of coverage with the goal of improving outcomes.


New tech helps public health agencies equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccine to communities in need

Juvare, a crisis and emergency management technology, has launched a vaccine planning application that will support public health agencies to more equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccinations. Titled RE-PLAN, the application assesses data from various sources to inform public health agencies’ dissemination plans and uses detailed population information to place resources and services close to underserved communities.

The impact of the digital divide on health equity

This article examines the importance of technology access and digital literacy on healthcare. Lack of access leads to disparities in patient portal adoption, telehealth care access and use of online appointment schedulers, all key to the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. Recommendations, tools and strategies to address digital health literacy are provided to help minimize health disparities.

National initiative to address COVID-19 health disparities among populations at high-risk and underserved, including racial and ethnic minority populations and rural communities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced $2.25 billion in grant funding to address health disparities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants will work to strengthen health equity, improving and increasing testing and contact tracing in disproportionately impacted communities. It will also focus on enhancing state and local health department services for racial and ethnic minority groups as well as people living in rural communities.


SDOH Advocacy Update


Current updates on state and federal SDoH Advocacy. For further details about the bills listed here, and contact information for sponsors and cosponsors, please click the links in the headlines below.


H.R. 1475 - Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act

Introduced by Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman, this bill addresses racial and ethnic disparities in mental health care education and access. It establishes a grant program to support enhanced behavioral health services at federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and other providers serving a high proportion of individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups. Grant funding is also allocated for programs that train students and professionals on how to better provide culturally competent mental health care. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would be required to develop and implement an outreach and education strategy to reduce stigma and promote behavioral and mental health among racial and ethnic minority groups. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would also receive funding to conduct research on mental health disparities in racial and ethnic minority groups. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.


H.R. 1753 - Improving Access to Nutrition Act

Introduced by Representative Barbara Lee [D-CA], this bill amends the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (FNA) to repeal certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) limits on food assistance for able-bodied adults. Under the current FNA, adults ages 18-49 without children, and without a documented disability, cannot receive more than three months of SNAP benefits in a 36-month period unless they are employed or in a work or training program for at least 20 hours a week. Although this benefit cap has been waived during the COVID-19 public health emergency, this change will mitigate food insecurity for those seeking full-time work on a permanent basis. This bill was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.


H.R.1221 - Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act of 2020

Introduced by Representative Yvette Clarke [D-IL], this bill directs the Department of Energy to perform a national assessment on the challenges to and opportunities for deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in urban areas, particularly in underserved or disadvantaged communities. The results of this assessment will provide guidance on addressing transportation needs, air quality issues and other disparate effects of the climate crisis on underserved or disadvantaged communities. This bill was referred to the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy.


S.346 - The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act

Senator Cory Booker [D-NJ] introduced the companion to H.R. 959 to help address the maternal health crisis in the US. Black, American Indian and Alaska Native women are two-to three-times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. This act is made up of 12 individual bills originally proposed by Members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, all of which address a wide range of racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes, especially among Black women. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.


The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight


LISC posts record $2B in community investments for 2020

Last year, the Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC) has invested more than $2 billion in community initiatives. The funding went to towards organizations working on providing COVID-19 relief and advocating for racial justice. Lisa Glover, interim LISC President and CEO, stated that, "Among the many lessons of 2020 is that community development financial institutions (CDFIs) like LISC play a vital role in the well-being of the country—both in communities as lenders, investors, technical experts, and philanthropic supporters, and also as part of our national economic infrastructure, stepping into market gaps that the traditional financial system isn't able to fill.”

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