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 6th Annual 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 Summit; submissions selected for presentation will be confirmed this month, 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).


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


Housing Solution Summit on May 12-13

TRCC is happy to share information about the virtual Housing Solution Summit, May 12-13th presented by the Population Health Learning Collaborative and United Way Worldwide. More than 100 presenters will give presentations that focus on solutions, innovations and actionable strategies that address housing as a health crisis. Speakers include:

· Jonathan Reckford, the CEO of Habitat for Humanity International

· Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law

· Natosha Reid Rice, Global Officer for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Habitat for Humanity

· Bryan Green, VP of Policy Advocacy at the National Association of REALTORS®

· Leilani Farha, former UN Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing, and Global Director of The Shift

You can find pre- and post-summit information and materials to help mobilize communities on our new website.


Social determinants of health stymied pandemic telehealth use

Research indicates that while telehealth has helped compensate for gaps in care delivery, SDoH continues to have a significant impact on utilization rates. Between March and June of 2019, telehealth claims comprised less than 0.3% of total outpatient consults while one year later, telehealth claims rose to 24%. The study recommends assessing and modifying telehealth strategies to maximize value and close the digital divide across social and geographic lines.


Public health efforts must target rural, racial health disparities

A study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that over the past 20 years, racial health disparities have improved significantly more in urban areas compared to rural areas. Findings showed that Black adults living in rural areas experienced the highest mortality rates for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Researchers urge efforts that focus on health equity for Black communities in rural America.


Loma Linda University awarded more than $2 million grant by state of California to address adverse childhood experiences

Loma Linda University Health has received a $2 million grant from the state of California to research Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) which often have an impact on mental and physical health across a person’s lifespan. The study will look at diverse populations to explore strategies to improve the delivery of healthcare resources to individuals with ACEs.


Racism in the public health industry and the importance of language

In a Washington Post opinion piece, Dr. Ron Wyatt, the first Black chief medical resident at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, calls on the healthcare industry to address systemic racism. Dr. Wyatt shares the need to directly acknowledge and contend with issue of racism in health care in order to transform the system and achieve health equity.


The association between ozone and fine particles and mental health-related emergency department visits in California, 2005–2013

Recent studies in California suggest that air pollutant exposure may increase the incidence of mental health conditions and emergency department visits among women, Hispanics and Asian Americans. Seasonal variations for outcomes have included, among others, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, self-harm/suicide and homicide/inflicted injury. These findings warrant further investigation to understand the impact of air pollutant exposure on the health of vulnerable communities.

Understanding and responding to health literacy as a social determinant of health

A new article from the Annual Review of Public Health highlights health literacy as a social determinant and calls for further research to investigate how health literacy can improve the quality of health communication among diverse populations.


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.1313 - Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act

Introduced by Representative Tim Ryan [D-OH], this bill establishes a system of tax credits and grants to expand access to healthy foods in underserved communities. To be eligible, food providers who service low-access communities would first need to be certified as Special Access Food Providers (SAFPs) by the U.S. Treasury. Tax credits and grants would be given to SAFPs for the construction or renovation of grocery stores or food banks in food deserts, as well as operating costs for temporary access merchants, such as mobile markets and farmers markets. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations.


S.499 - Improving Health Insurance Affordability Act of 2021

Introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen [D-NH], this bill increases access to quality, affordable healthcare by lowering health insurance premiums for millions of low and middle-income Americans. The bill extends the temporary tax credits for healthcare coverage found in the American Rescue Plan on a permanent basis. The bill also increases the value of cost-sharing subsidies for people with income between 100 and 250 percent of Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and expands eligibility for assistance to people with income up to 400 percent of FPL. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.


H.R.1352 - Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity, and Reliability Act of 2021

Introduced by Representative Brenda Lawrence [D-MI], this bill works to address inequities in access to affordable, safe and clean public water in communities across the country. The bill establishes a trust fund to improve drinking water and wastewater programs and infrastructure especially in small, rural, indigenous and other underserved communities. This bill also includes funding to improve public-school water infrastructure and tribal drinking water services. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would conduct a study on water affordability and discrimination. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry.


S.162 - Anti-Racism in Public Health Act of 2021

Introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren [D-MA], this legislation promotes further research and investment into the public health impacts of structural racism, especially in light of the health disparities brought to the forefront by Covid-19. The bill declares racism as a public health crisis and establishes a National Center for Anti-Racism at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It would also establish a violence prevention program for law enforcement within the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the CDC. This program would study the public health impact of police brutality and violence, develop interventions to mitigate health effects and collect data and research on police violence and misconduct. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. An identical House companion was introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley [D-MA-07]


The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight


Kumanu and ProMedica co-launch solution to help employers identify and address employees’ unmet social and economic needs

Kumanu and ProMedica have collaborated to launch Resourceful, a platform designed to support social determinants of health-related challenges faced by employees. The customizable platform will identify risk factors within an organization and then connect employees to resources available at work and in the community. Randy Oostra, President and CEO of ProMedica stated that, “Unmet employee needs related to Social Determinants of Health can have a significant impact on health and business outcomes. ProMedica’s decade-long experience in this area demonstrates that by effectively addressing SDOH needs, employers can help improve quality of life for employees while better positioning their companies for future success.” Vic Strecher, Kumanu’s Founder and CEO added that, “For the first time, Resourceful empowers employers to address essential needs and improve their employees’ sense of dignity by addressing the unmet SDOH needs and providing stigma-free, technology-driven access to resources.”


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