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SDOH Advocacy Update 05/13/2024

SDOH Advocacy Update 05/13/2024

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The Latest Advocacy and Government Relations News

The Root Cause Coalition is dedicated to amplifying the voices of communities and driving impactful policy reforms. As a nonprofit committed to addressing the root causes of health disparities and poverty, we aim to educate our members on recent news and research that advocates for equitable healthcare access and influencing policy decisions that combat food insecurity and poverty. 

Read our April 22, 2024 news on social drivers and advocacy updates below:

Social Drivers in the News:

Researchers review findings and clinical messages from the Women’s Health Initiative 30 years after launch
This article summarizes a review in JAMA of key findings and clinical messages from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), the largest women’s health study in the United States, created to study factors that may reduce risks for cardiovascular disease, cancer, hip fractures and other conditions in postmenopausal women. More than 68,000 women enrolled in clinical trials between 1993 and 1998 and were followed for up to 20 years. Researchers summarized the preliminary findings in three key areas: hormone therapy and menopause, calcium and vitamin D supplements and bone fractures, and low-fat diets and cancer.
New docuseries focuses on health inequities and challenges in rural America
A new original video docuseries from the American Heart Association, "Health Wanted: Finding Care in Rural America,” sheds light on the unique health equity barriers faced by rural communities across America from Alaska to Appalachia. The series uses first-person, documentary-style storytelling to highlight obstacles to the successful prevention and treatment of heart disease, treatment of mental health concerns, and reduction of maternal health mortality rates in rural America. The series also focuses on the specific challenges faced by understaffed rural hospitals and health clinics while highlighting efforts to promote better health outcomes, primarily through local community engagement and improved local systems of care.
The cost-efficacy of a healthy food box for managing hypertension within a native American population: a group randomized controlled trial 
The study evaluates the cost-effectiveness of providing monthly boxes of healthy, culturally tailored foods and checks for produce to Native American adults with hypertension. Conducted from 2018 to 2020, the study involved 160 participants with stage 1 or stage 2 hypertension. Results showed that the intervention effectively reduced blood pressure in women with stage 1 hypertension and was cost-effective, meeting thresholds even with lifetime treatment. However, it did not significantly impact other groups. Despite limitations such as small sample size and specific population focus, the findings suggest the intervention's potential in managing hypertension among Native American women with stage 1 hypertension, highlighting the need for further research to understand its broader impacts and mechanisms.
US maternal mortality rates fell in 2022 after 3 years of increases: CDC 
This article discusses the decrease of maternal mortality rates in the United States in 2022, with 817 maternal deaths and a rate of 22.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, down from 1,205 deaths and a rate of 32.9 in 2021. Rates decreased for all age groups, but women over 40 still had a much higher risk. However, while rates dropped for Black, white and Hispanic women, disparities persisted, with Black women experiencing significantly higher rates of maternal mortality than other ethnicities in 2022. These results point to the need for addressing socially determinant factors such as smoking during pregnancy, inadequate prenatal care, and systemic racism pervading in health systems. 

SDoH Advocacy Update:

TRCC’s Equity Legislation Monitor for 118th Congress
TRCC’s Equity Legislation Monitor (ELM) was developed by TRCC to identify priority issues affecting health disparities and relevant legislation that address them. The ELM provides updates and pertinent information on research, news and legislation in eight priority areas: digital equity; environment and climate change; gun violence prevention; housing; maternal health; nutrition and food security; rural health; and payment models. A new subpage has been added to the nutrition and food security page focusing on Food is Medicine. Click here to see the new page and check out the ELM. 

National Women's Health Week
The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH) is holding National Women’s Health Week (NWHW) this year from May 12 to 18. Throughout the week, OWH will join organizations, health professionals and communities across the country to empower women to advocate for themselves in health care settings and prioritize their physical, mental and emotional health and well-being. This year’s theme, “Empowering Women, Cultivating Health: Celebrating Voices, Wellness, and Resilience,” is dedicated to empowering women to take charge of their health journey and shining a light on health issues unique to women. Click here to see the topic of each day and access a toolkit with social media posts, videos and fact sheets. 
OCCHE Releases May Health Outlook
The Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) has released its May 2024 Climate and Health Outlook. This is a public information series connecting weather forecasts to health resources to inform health professionals and the public on how their health may be affected by climate events and providing resources to take action. The Outlook shares data to educate the public on their region’s forecast for heat, flooding, drought, and wildfire in May 2024 along with how to protect themselves and others’ health from these climate hazards. This edition also explores how climate change is influencing Valley fever and pollen along with seasonal allergies.
S.4147 - NIH IMPROVE Act
This bill was introduced by Senator Laphonza Butler [D-CA], to address the maternal health crisis in the U.S. by funding a National Institutes of Health (NIH) research program, the Implementing a Maternal Health and Pregnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE) Initiative. This program advances research to reduce racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in maternal health outcomes; and improve health for pregnant and postpartum individuals before, during and after pregnancy. The IMPROVE Initiative would also conduct research that targets health disparities associated with maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity by implementing and evaluating community-based interventions for disproportionately affected individuals. The bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. 
H.R.8032 - Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program Establishment Act
This bill, introduced by Representative Eric Sorensen [D-IL], would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which previously expired in 2023. This program would provide grants to states, territories and tribes to assist low-income households with paying their water bills, preventing water shutoffs, and restoring drinking water and wastewater services. The bill would also expand access to the program by aligning LIHEAP eligibility requirements for low-income households with other assistance programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The bill was referred to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure and Energy and Commerce. 

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