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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

Coming Up: TRCC’s Virtual Summit registration portal will be launched May 3rd.

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. Watch this space for continued updates, featured speaker announcements and sneak-peeks at the agenda.

Social Determinants in the News

Implications of COVID-19 for social determinants of health

This Kaiser Family Foundation article discusses the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on SDoH, focusing on how adults are faring across a range of social determinants during the pandemic and what to look out for moving forward.

Community-based care access next step in health equity

This article discusses the need for further focus on community, social determinants of health and access to care in the healthcare sector. It also examines implicit bias and institutionalized racism, and how healthcare organizations can better respond to these important issues.

Majority-Black neighborhoods see maternal health disparities

Data on health disparities from University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine found that those living in majority-Black neighborhoods are disproportionately likely to suffer from maternal health complications. The study found that there was a 2.4% increase in maternal morbidity for every 10% increase in Black residents within a given neighborhood.

How the Biden administration can improve health equity for racial and ethnic minority populations

This JAMA Network Open article highlights the Biden administration’s available strategies to pursue health equity for racial and ethnic minority populations. The authors discuss access to and quality of care, SDoH and how to best advance health equity through policy.

State Approaches to Ensuring Healthy Pregnancies through Prenatal Care

This brief examines the different factors influencing access to and the implementation of prenatal care. It shows how preterm and low birth weights could be prevented with investments in SDoH and high-quality care; it also provides strategies to ensure healthy pregnancies in every state.

40% of incarcerated people have chronic conditions — how good is the health care they get behind bars? This article calls for improvements among healthcare services within correctional facilities and discusses the link between disproportionate incarceration levels and communities at higher risk for chronic illnesses. Undiagnosed health issues, such as addiction and mental health issues, lead to higher rates of incarceration and are often diagnosed for the first time at intake.

Live In A Wealthier ZIP Code? You're More Likely To Be Vaccinated

Data released by The Oregon Health Authority shows wealthier neighborhoods were one and a half times more likely to receive at least one dose of the COVID vaccine across the United States. Unequal rollout and distribution of vaccines to low-income neighborhoods and lack of resources to Latino communities has resulted in lower vaccination rates among these communities. Latinos in Oregon account for 13% of the population but 25% of COVID infections and only 7% of people vaccinated.

SDOH Advocacy Update

This week, TRCC is featuring Representative Ayanna Pressley [D-MA] as a health equity leader on the Hill. Below is a selection of SDoH-related bills she has introduced in the 117th Congress so far this year.

Emergency Homelessness Assistance Act

Originally introduced by Representative Ayanna Pressley [D-MA] as H.R. 1706, this provision was included in the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law by President Biden in March of this year. The legislation authorizes $5 billion for the Emergency Solutions Grants program to support state and local government services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Funding can also be used on rental assistance and for acquiring and developing buildings such as hotels and motels to serve as transitional and permanent supportive housing.

H.R. 2598 - COVID-19 Safe Birthing Act

Introduced by Representative Ayanna Pressley [D-MA], this bill provides essential protections and access to care for pregnant people during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The bill ensures that birthing individuals are allowed to be accompanied by a friend or family member, in addition to a doula or other birthing support professional in hospitals and health care settings. The bill also expands access to maternal telehealth services for Medicaid recipients and extends Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) postpartum coverage to a full year. In addition, the bill guarantees coverage of COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination during and after the emergency declaration period for pregnant individuals regardless of insurance status or source of insurance. The bill was referred to the Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means and Education and Labor Committees.

H.R.835 - American Opportunity Accounts Act

Introduced by Representative Ayanna Pressley [D-MA], this bill helps to close the racial wealth gap by giving every child a fair chance at economic opportunity and mobility. The bill would establish ‘American Opportunity Accounts’ seeded with $1,000 and given to every American child at birth. These accounts would receive an annual deposit up to $2,000 depending on family income and would be managed by the Treasury Department, earning roughly 3 percent interest. Account holders would be able to access the funds at age 18 and use them for qualified expenses such as homeownership or degrees at institutions of higher education and technical schools in order to promote economic mobility and stability. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

H.R.948 - Justice for Incarcerated Moms Act of 2021

Introduced by Representative Ayanna Pressley [D-MA], this bill works to improve maternal health care and support for pregnant individuals who are incarcerated. The bill provides funding to create maternal health programs for incarcerated individuals, including access to culturally congruent care, healthy food and nutrition, and mental health and substance use counseling. Funds could also be used to establish pretrial diversion programs and provide reentry assistance. Additionally, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) must submit a report to Congress on adverse maternal and infant health outcomes among incarcerated individuals and infants born to such individuals, with a particular focus on racial and ethnic disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Health and was also included as a part of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus package.

The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

No Kid Hungry invests $2 million in innovative SNAP efforts in six states

A new partnership between Share Our Strength and the American Public Human Services Association has yielded a nearly $2 million investment in Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) agency innovation and interagency coordination to combat childhood hunger in six states. Over an 18-month grant period, selected agencies will engage in cohort learning to foster policy and practice changes targeted at reducing childhood hunger. Jillien Meier, Director of No Kid Hungry, shared that “We know that SNAP is one of the most effective tools our nation has to feed kids, but it works hand in hand with school meals, WIC and other childhood nutrition programs. This exciting new initiative will allow us to gather best practices that lead to evidence-based policy change that can reduce childhood hunger.”


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