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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: contact@rootcausecoalition.org.

TRCC News and Upcoming Events

The Root Cause Coalition is pleased to share that registration is open for the 6th National Summit on the Social Determinants of Health. The event will be held virtually October 4-6, 2021.


COVID-19 has brought increased awareness of disparities among our nation’s minorities and most vulnerable. The time is now to better understand connections between social determinants and poor health status across the lifespan. Factors such as systemic racism, food insecurity, lack of safe and affordable housing, quality education, transportation and isolation have a significant impact on both individual and population health. TRCC’s National Summit will bring together representatives from healthcare, community and faith-based organizations, researchers, government leaders, educators and businesses to share best practices, offer community connections and engage in crucial discussions around how to address social determinants of health.


Early bird registration goes through July 1st, 2021. Click here to register and learn more!


The press release and full report, released Thursday April 29th, are available here. This research explores consumer sentiment, behavior and attitudes around COVID-19 and health equity, and the impact on individuals. TRCC has scheduled a webinar to discuss the findings on this research on Thursday, May 6th at 1pm ET. To RSVP for this webinar, please click here.


The Root Cause Coalition has released its next Accelerated Response Brief (ARB), a subset of CHA’s members’ work to address Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This brief is part of a series that highlights TRCC members’ initiatives, programs and policies throughout the pandemic. Please click here to read insights from a few of CHA’s members. We welcome additional submissions! TRCC members interested in being featured in a future ARB should contact Alex Lewin-Zwerdling at alexandra@rootcausecoalition.org.


The Root Cause Coalition is honored to announce that the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), a national association of 35 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, has joined The Root Cause Coalition. Since 1929, Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies have provided health care coverage to members. Today, BCBS companies are in every ZIP code and collectively cover 110 million people – or one in three Americans – in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Social Determinants in the News

Housing Solution Summit on May 12-13 Registration is still open for the Housing Solution Summit, hosted May 12-13th and 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. Click here to register and for more information.


This article explores how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgency of addressing SDoH as it relates to health literacy. It highlights key steps: A person’s ability to access information; putting the risk into cultural context; identifying comprehension obstacles; supporting peoples’ decisions and developing a relationship-based care model.


Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)’s Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program has awarded nearly $13 million to 61 organizations across 35 states to support healthcare providers in leveraging telehealth and other services to combat rural health disparities. The goal of the program is to improve access to care and clinical outcomes by targeting barriers to care experienced by rural communities.


This Health Affairs article explores examples of SDoH integration efforts in Texas and suggests strategies to improve care coordination. Leveraging technology, ensuring coordination and bolstering the evidence base are some of the strategies noted to address health disparities.


Patient-generated health data (PGHD) includes health and treatment history - and biometric data -generated by patients and provided to clinicians. It allows healthcare providers to identify SDoH, improving personalized care management plans. Adoption of PGHD has been slowed due to costs and patients feeling burdened by additional responsibility however the use of programming interfaces (eg., Apple Health Records or CommonHealth) could help streamline this process.


This article demonstrates how a health equity framework can minimize the effects of SDoH. With COVID-19 vaccine disparities as an example, AcademyHealth utilized a health equity framework to explore vaccine disparities within communities of color and what measures can be taken to improve vaccination efforts.

This article outlines actions needed to address and dismantle structural racism in clinical practice, medical education and research. The authors push for an acknowledgement that race and ethnicity are social and political constructs and are a poor proxy for ancestry and the creation of a new system of clinical practice, education and research. This new system would incorporate the voices of marginalized populations who are disproportionally affected by socioeconomic, environmental and behavioral factors.


SDOH Advocacy Updates

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.


President Joe Biden delivered an address to a joint session of Congress last week. He outlined the administration’s plans and priorities for the rest of the year and discussed the impact of the American Rescue Plan on child poverty, food and housing security. President Biden also noted the success of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, especially among underserved communities and older Americans. He urged for the passage of the American Jobs Plan, an infrastructure bill that would help ensure all Americans have access to necessities like clean water and high-speed internet. The speech also included the introduction of the American Families Plan, which would expand access to quality education, affordable childcare, paid family and medical leave and extended child care tax credits. Finally, President Biden highlighted the urgent need to root out systemic racism in many American institutions and deliver equal opportunities for all Americans.


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) recently announced a new set of nutrition program waivers to provide continued flexibility for food distribution to children. The waivers, originally announced in March of 2020, can be found here and include free meals for all students as well as other flexibilities around meal patterns and deliveries that allow for the continuation of social distancing and virtual learning. The waivers are effective starting July 1, 2021 and extend until the end of the next school year, June 30, 2022.


Introduced by Senator Bob Casey [D-PA], this bill would close nutrition gaps and expand access to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The bill extends the WIC eligibility age to six years old or the beginning of kindergarten, ensuring that children do not age out of nutrition support before they are eligible for school meals. Closing this gap allows nearly 600,000 children to maintain access to essential nutritional services before starting school. The bill also extends WIC eligibility for postpartum women and infant certification periods to two years. The bill was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.


This resolution, introduced by Representative Jahana Hayes (D-CT), would declare racism a public health crisis. It commits to establishing a national strategy to address health disparities and inequity across all sectors of society, dismantling systemic practices and policies that perpetuate racism while promoting efforts to address SDoH. This bill has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary.


The Root Cause Coalition Member Spotlight

CareSource has announced their $1.2 million investment in the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers to enhance population health quality and outcomes. The funding will be directed towards a Practice Transformation Incentive that supports the Population Health Management platform. Steve Ringel, CareSource Ohio Market President, said “We’re proud to support OACHC who play such a critical role and to improve best practice quality, practice prevention, and chronic care management.”

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