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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

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. Thank you to everyone who submitted a proposal to present at the Summit; submissions selected for presentations will be confirmed this month, and the registration portal will be launched May 3rd. Watch this space for continued updates. Please Share Your Covid-19 Stories! The Root Cause Coalition is continuing its Accelerated Response Briefs (ARB) series that highlight 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

Social Determinants in the News

Rochelle P. Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has declared racism a “serious public health threat.” In her statement last week, Dr. Walensky noted the CDC’s plans to study the impact of SDoH on health outcomes, expand research on how racism impacts health and implement solutions to address these findings. The CDC also announced their new web portal “Racism and Health” designed to catalyze public and scientific discourse around racism and health.

The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report reiterated the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, reporting that between March and December 2020, the proportion of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 was highest for Hispanic and Latino patients. Another study found similar disparities between racial and ethnic groups in COVID-19-related emergency department visits after analyzing data from 13 states between October and December 2020.

A study published in JAMA Network Open found that racial and ethnic minorities have been 30%-35% more likely to utilize cardiovascular ambulatory virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings were based on a study of 176,781 ambulatory cardiology visits at an urban, multisite health system. Prior to COVID-19, Asian, Black and Hispanic individuals comprised more than one-quarter of ambulatory cardiology visits.

This article explores the role of SDoH in perpetuating disparities relating to hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and hyperglycemia. Data from the 2019 United States National Health Interview Survey showed that age, gender, education, annual income, health coverage and unusual care sources were associated with a lack of access to preventive services.

This article outlines how cultural competence training for dietitians can help mitigate malnutrition and improve food relationships within marginalized communities. Promoting culturally sensitive healthy eating habits and meal planning can help mitigate SDoH by incorporating food items that are available to – and commonly eaten in – a range of demographics and ethnicities.

An article published in First Report Managed Care discusses the value of population-based strategies to identify early signs of mental health issues among vulnerable communities and populations. Identifying instances of mental health issues early on can also help prevent physical health issues.

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.

Introduced by Representative Alma Adams [D-NC], co-founder and co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, this measure designates April 11-17th as “Black Maternal Health Week'' to bring attention to racial disparities in maternal mortality, morbidity and health outcomes for Black women and birthing individuals. Maternal health is an urgent public health crisis in the US, as Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to white women. The resolution calls for investments in Black maternal healthcare to mitigate the effects of systemic and structural racism and urges the passage of the Black Maternal Momnibus Act of 2021. The resolution was referred to the following committees: Energy and Commerce; Financial Services; Transportation and Infrastructure; Education and Labor; Judiciary; Natural Resources; Agriculture and Veterans' Affairs.

Introduced by Senator Dan Sullivan [D-AK], this bill authorizes a state-based grant program that establishes partnerships with private, non-profit or philanthropic organizations, and coordinates health and social services, such as nutritional assistance, housing, transportation and job training. Recipients receive one-time seed funding to facilitate cross-sector referrals, coordinate services and provide technical support and outcome tracking, and are offered flexibility to design networks unique to their needs. When building partnerships, states must identify goals that improve health, social outcomes and access in their communities. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Introduced by Representative Ayanna Pressley [D-MA], this bill would remove barriers to safe, reliable and convenient public transit for all communities across the country. It would support state and local efforts to provide fare-free public transportation systems by establishing a “Freedom to Move” grant program. Funding would offset operational costs and could also be used to address transit equity gaps to improve quality, reliability and accessibility of transit service for low-income and historically underserved communities. This bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

Introduced by Senator Robert Casey [D-PA], this bill provides temporary funding for Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) through a 10 percent increase in Federal Medical Assistance. HCBS programs deliver home health and human services to older adults and people with disabilities. The bill would also expand HBCS programs by providing hazard pay, paid sick and family medical leave and personal protective equipment to home health workers and direct support professionals. Funding could also be used to recruit and train additional direct care workers and to pay for technologies that ensure continuity of care and minimize COVID-19 risk for both older adults and people with disabilities. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

Feeding America and the Institute for Hunger Research & Solutions at Foodshare have released a new report that describes and assesses research on programs that seek to improve food security and health. This evidence review identifies key interventions that food banks and health care systems are engaged in as partners and assesses existing evidence to quantify the benefits of these programs for the specific outcomes of food security, diet quality, and health. This report helps to fill a gap in what is known about the effectiveness of food bank – health care partnerships, provides examples and case studies, and highlights the need for additional research.


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