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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:

TRCC News and Upcoming Events

Applications for TRCC's Health Justice Award Close Tonight!

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 2-4. To learn more and apply, please click here. The deadline is today, January 31st at 11:59pm PST.

Request for Proposals for the 7th Annual National Summit Opening Tomorrow, February 1st!

The 7th Annual National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health will be opening the RFP Portal tomorrow, February 1st. We are excited to welcome community and health care leaders from across the nation to submit proposals for breakout sessions and poster presentations. Returning to an in-person event for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, the Summit will take place, as noted above, October 2-4, in Minneapolis. You’ll find the link on TRCC’s website, beginning tomorrow at 9 a.m. EST.

TRCC Welcomes Sponsors for 2022 National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health

With excitement for a return to an in-person event, the Sponsorship opportunities for this year’s Summit have 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.

Social Determinants in the News

Racial health disparities found in patient education about smoking cessation A new study revealed how non-Latino White smokers are more likely to receive patient education and assistance regarding smoking cessation compared to Latino smokers. The authors attribute these differences to health insurance coverage and services. They encourage the use of public health strategies that engage tobacco users outside of clinics. Progress in Health Equity Requires Reassessment, Iteration UI Health, the academic medical center associated with University of Illinois at Chicago, has implemented new strategies to address health equity while grappling with COVID-19. One such change includes the expansion and improvement of their telehealth model to provide better access to care. The hospital also worked to address digital equity by providing patients with information about social services that assist with telehealth. UI officials emphasized the importance of continuously assessing and adjusting their approach to achieving health equity to meet the changing needs of their community. Addressing and improving health disparities begins with you A research program launched by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) aims to build one of the largest and most diverse research databases that will result in a detailed picture of the nation’s health. NIH is working to sign up one million participants and will gather biological, environmental and information on their life circumstances. This will help researchers learn more about why certain individuals may be more susceptible to health conditions and how social factors directly affect health. To learn more or enroll in this program, click here. Cash benefits to low-income families improves infants’ cognitive development To study the impact of a poverty reduction intervention on infant brain activity, researchers divided low-income mothers into two groups with one receiving $20 a month and the other receiving $333. After one year, results shows that the infants in the high-payment group had statistically significant faster brain activity than the lower-payment group, underscoring the relationship between financial stability and health outcomes. The authors noted that the patterns of neural activity observed in the high-payment group are associated with with higher language, cognitive and social-emotional scores in childhood and adolescence.

SDOH Advocacy Update

S.3473 - Innovation in Aging Act

This bill, introduced by Senator Angus King [I-ME], would work to improve health outcomes in older populations by providing additional funding to the Administration for Community Living (ACL), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that focuses on the unique needs of older Americans and people with disabilities. Funding would specifically go toward the ACL Research, Demonstration, and Evaluation Center for the Aging Network, to improve the delivery of aging services, such as home-delivered meals and long-term care programs. This Center would also evaluate the impact of the aging services network programs on older adult health and independence while elevating evidence-based programs and best practices through training and technical assistance. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

H.R.6272 - College Student Hunger Act The bill, introduced by Representative Al Lawson [D-FL], would address food insecurity on college campuses by increasing access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for more low-income college students. The bill would expand SNAP application eligibility to college students who qualify for Pell Grants and would lower work requirements for college students to 10 hours per week. Under the legislation, the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) would be required to notify eligible students about SNAP and provide resources to facilitate enrollment. The USDA would also be required to publish a report with strategies to mitigate existing or potential barriers to students’ access to benefits. Finally, the bill would authorize demonstration pilot projects to test new SNAP delivery methods specifically tailored for college campuses. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations.

S.3506 - Strengthening the Public Health Workforce Act This bill was introduced by Senator Tina Smith to strengthen the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and address growing public health workforce shortages. The bill would reauthorize the Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Program, which provides education loan repayment assistance to eligible individuals who work in state, local, or Tribal public health departments. The authorization of the program would last for three years and the obligated service period for participants would be shortened to two years instead of three. The bill would also expand the program’s eligibility requirements to include individuals with degrees in public health, epidemiology, data systems, data science, data analytics, informatics, or statistics. It would also ensure that program contracts are equitably distributed among local, state and Tribal health departments in both rural and urban areas. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

H.R.6406 - Stronger Engagement for Indian Health Needs Act of 2022 The bill was introduced by Representative Greg Stanton [D-AZ], to address health disparities in American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), two demographics that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These populations also experience higher rates of chronic disease due to lack of access and quality of care in tribal health programs. To prioritize AI/AN health, the role of Indian Health Services Director would be elevated to an Assistant Secretary for Indian Health with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This new position would require Senate confirmation and would provide a higher level of authority within HHS. It would also increase collaboration among agencies to better meet the health needs of AI/AN populations. The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

TRCC Welcomes National Medical Fellowships to the Coalition The National Medical Fellowships (NMF) provides scholarships and support for minority students in medical and health care professions. NMF remains the only national organization solely dedicated to providing scholarships to medical and health profession students in all groups underrepresented in healthcare. We are delighted to welcome this organization as we collectively work towards our mission of health equity. TRCC Congratulates AARP Foundation on its new Digital Literacy Grant Announced last week, AARP Foundation was awarded a $10 million grant from The grant is focused on improving the digital skills of older adults. Specifically, AARP Foundation has launched the Digital Skills Ready@50+™ program, an initiative that provides technology and digital skills training to people over 50 who are living with low income.


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The Health Justice Award, graciously sponsored by Aetna, a CVS Health Company, recognizes organizations that have successfully implemented a program or intervention to reduce health disparities. This

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