Grants large and small add to hope to those in need at the intersection of the social determinants of health (SDoH).

How do organizations bridge care gaps associated with the social determinants of health (SDoH)? Funding, for one thing! There is lots happening in this vein this week, so here’s a review:

First, small, tangible grants can make all the difference. That is exactly the scope of Medline’s annual Community Impact Grants! Fourteen different winners received $25,000 each, all non-profit 501(3)c organizations based in the U.S. The programs target family health, health equity, domestic violence prevention, and breast cancer education, awareness, and psychosocial support. The footprint of programs spanned California, Georgia, Illinois, Texas, and New York, and include:

  • A Safe Place: Provides direct services for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, and their children.
  • Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities: Funding is being divided among the organization’s three programs to reduce barriers to healthcare access.
  • Equal Hope: Will expand breast cancer and population health assistance programs for uninsured, underinsured, and publicly insured women and families.
  • Gilda’s Club Chicago: Provides support to all people impacted by cancer; funds will be used to grow and diversify its participant base.
  • CASA Lake County: Promotes and protects child victims of abuse.
  • Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalitions of Georgia: Funds will be used to establish a domestic violence survivors program.
  • Michelle’s Place: Funds will be used to educate high-risk, underserved, and uninsured women on the importance of early breast cancer detection, and to provide access to free annual screenings, diagnostic breast health services, and/or MRI tests.
  • MidHudson Chocolate Milk: Funds will be used to provide lactation education and resources, including through the #LactPact initiative.
  • Mothers Trust Foundation: Funds will be used to meet specific needs for specific children, including food, clothing, car seats, eyeglasses, counseling, and medication.
  • Northern Illinois Food Bank: Funds will provide continued support for the organization’s Screen and Intervene and other programs, promoting access to nutritious food for food-insecure individuals and families.
  • Riverview Center: Funds will be used to provide free and confidential holistic services.
  • South Texas Food Bank: Funds will be used to support a program aimed at families with children age 11 and younger, providing monthly supplemental distribution of foods scientifically proven to sustain a healthy immune system.
  • Women’s Center Youth & Family Services: Funds will be used to provide free and confidential lifesaving shelters and services for homeless, runaway youths, and victims of domestic violence.
  • Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center: Funds will be used to provide programs and support for survivors of sexual assault and abuse.

Next, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded 11 grants worth $58 million over five years through the NIH Common Fund’s Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity initiative. The awards all focus on innovative intervention, including:

  • Community-based research collaborations that address structural racism in neighborhoods predominantly populated by Black residents and examine spiritual healing and stress reduction interventions for youth from racial and ethnic minority communities to prevent chronic disease outcomes;
  • Telehealth-driven or technology-assisted interventions for physical and mental health;
  • Technology-enhanced approaches to advance cancer health equity among diverse deaf, blind, and hard-of-hearing populations; and
  • New models of school-based, telehealth-driven preventive care to prevent health disparities in underserved rural and socioeconomically disadvantaged children.

Finally, U.S. Sens. Todd Young and Debbie Stabenow reintroduced the Social Determinants Accelerator Act, bipartisan legislation to empower states and local governments in their ongoing efforts to improve health outcomes. Now, if this seems like deja vu all over again, you are correct; efforts to advance the legislation first began in 2019, although they were derailed. The plan is the same: to establish a federal interagency council that would leverage existing programs and address barriers to coordination between health and social services programs. Grants would be provided for state, local, and tribal governments to develop dedicated strategies that target SDoH-related issues across populations.

Industry support for the Act remains solid, from organizations across every sector, including healthcare organizations and insurers. Further information on the Act can also be found by a search of HR 2503 at www.congress.gov

This week’s Monitor Mondays survey asked listeners how much their organizations rely on grant funding to bridge care gaps, and whether they fund or partner on necessary programming; the surprising answers appear here.

Programming Note: Listen to Ellen Fink-Samnick’s live reporting of SDoH Monday’s on Monitor Mondays, 10 Eastern.

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