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
As you know, the hunger crisis in the US has come with staggering human and financial costs. The pandemic worsened many existing health inequities and hunger was no exception. With this in mind, we are pleased to offer member and non-member organizations an opportunity to join our letter asking the White House for public support of a second White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health. We believe the time has come to fully reexamine the changes needed to address hunger and nutrition insecurity. To view the letter, please click here and to add your organization, please fill out this brief form.
TRCC is accepting request for proposals for the 7th Annual National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health, to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from October 4th-6th. This year's theme is Achieving Health Equity: What Are You Prepared To Do? and we are excited to welcome community and health care leaders from across the nation to discuss strategies and best practices in achieving health equity. Submit your proposal here. Successful applicants will be notified in early spring. Additionally, general registration for the Summit will open soon - Watch this space for additional details and plan now to attend!
We welcome new sponsors to join us in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a Sponsor for the 7th Annual National Summit. 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 email@example.com for more information.
The Coalition recently announced the launch of the Equity Legislation Monitor (ELM), a tool developed by our Board, Advocacy Committee and staff to identify priority issues affecting health disparities, and relevant legislation that address them. TRCC will use the ELM to continuously provide relevant information on key equity and SDoH issues throughout the year. This tool will be updated with research, news and legislation, released in real-time, providing resources and information on seven priority areas: digital equity; diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice; environment and climate change; housing; maternal health; nutrition and food security; and payment models. For further information about the ELM, please contact Tom Dorney at firstname.lastname@example.org or Hannah Miller at email@example.com
Social Determinants in the News
Improving the Measurement of Structural Racism to Achieve Antiracist Health Policy This article, from the Health Affairs February issue on Racism and Health, highlights the need to develop and implement new methods of measuring structural racism. These developments will work to build evidence of the harms of racism on population health and better identify policy interventions that advance racial health equity. The authors identify three key areas to advance antiracist health policy research - historical context, geographical context and methodological approaches that capture the multifaceted and systemic properties of structural racism and other systems of oppression. The Past Is So Present: Understanding COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among African American Adults Using Qualitative Data This research examines health disparities caused by vaccine hesitancy and the role of African American faith-based wellness programs in COVID-19 awareness and vaccine uptake. Results showed that wellness programs which utilize faith and community leaders can help restore and strengthen trust in public health efforts and reduce vaccine hesitancy. The authors urge policymakers to use this research to inform the design of vaccination programs that promote collaborations between key stakeholders including local government, faith leaders and minority populations. AMA Releases Health Equity Toolkit for Health Systems The American Medical Association (AMA) recently shared a new toolkit for health systems looking to commit to racial and health equity within their organizations. The toolkit outlines five concrete steps administrators can take to advance racial and health equity including: system-wide commitment, shifting of organizational norms and practices to fill knowledge gaps, improvements around data, development of a shared vision for an entire system, and launch of recommendations. Child poverty rate spikes without monthly Child Tax Credit Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy conducted a study that found an increase in the child poverty rate due to the expiration of the expanded Child Tax Credit. The expansion of the tax credit was a part of the federal COVID-19 pandemic response and distributed additional funds to millions of families from July through December 2021. This policy was not renewed by Congress in 2022 and its expiration has left 3.7 million children in poverty, with Latino and Black children experiencing the largest increases.
SDOH Advocacy Update
CMS Redesigns ACO Model to Advance Health Equity Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a redesigned Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model to better reflect the Biden Administration’s vision of advancing health equity and centering high quality, affordable, person-centered care. Through the new ACO Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health (REACH) model, CMS will use an innovative payment approach to improve care delivery and coordination for patients in underserved communities. The model will require that all participating organizations develop a health equity plan to identify underserved communities and implement initiatives to reduce health disparities within their beneficiary populations. H.R.6584 - DEPICT Act This bill was introduced by Representative Anna Eshoo [D-CA] to ensure equitable access to treatments, medications, and medical devices for communities of color by boosting diversity in clinical trials. The bill would require new drug and medical device applicants to report clinical trial enrollment targets by demographic subgroup and provide a Diversity Action Plan detailing how to reach those groups. It would also require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to publish an annual report on progress toward improving diversity in clinical trials and mandate post-market studies when companies do not meet diversity enrollment targets. The bill would also provide funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and community health centers for engagement and outreach efforts to better include underrepresented communities in clinical trials and research. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. S.3535 - Heating and Cooling Relief Act This bill was introduced by Senator Ed Markey [D-MA] and would expand access to heating and cooling services in low-income homes and improve health outcomes, especially during extreme temperatures and weather events. As high energy costs are associated with a greater risk for respiratory diseases and heat strokes, the bill would increase annual funding for Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to expand eligibility and ensure that no household pays more than three percent of its annual income on energy costs. The bill would also minimize the barriers to administering and applying LIHEAP, set up discounted payment plans for participants and ensure that no eligible household has its utilities shut off or pays late fees. Additionally, the bill would address climate adaptation by promoting renewable energy sources and providing additional funding for weatherization and energy assistance during major disasters. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. H.R.6548 - Justice in Power Plant Permitting Act This bill was introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney [D-NY] to address health disparities caused placement of power plants and other sources of air pollution in low-income and communities of color. The bill would require new or renewed permit applicants to conduct an analysis that considers the cumulative impact of past, present and reasonably anticipated future pollution emissions. It would require consideration of community demographics, locations of community exposure points and associated health risks for vulnerable populations. The bill would also establish a fund to provide grant funding for the transition to clean energy programs that improve the health and well-being of residents of impacted environmental justice communities. Grant funding would be awarded by a new advisory council, made up of representatives from community-based environmental justice and labor organizations along with state, local and tribal governments. The bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Oversight and Reform.
The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight
Humana and University of Louisville Collaborate on Health Equity Humana recently announced an investment in the University of Louisville’s Health Equity Innovation Hub to achieve health equity and improve health outcomes for marginalized populations in Louisville and beyond. The Hub will work to advance social and health equity for structurally marginalized populations through research, entrepreneurship, innovation, talent development and community engagement. This investment is a part of Humana’s larger Bold Goal initiative, which seeks to advance the health of the communities it serves by addressing SDOH and the health-related social needs for its members and communities.