The Funding Frenzy for both the SDoH and SDoMH

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation commits $6 million; leads two other funders.

The industry has been fixated on the funding of services for patients associated with the social determinants of health (SDoH) and the social determinants of mental health (SDoMH), with current efforts particularly focused on steroids.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) recently committed $6 million to Purpose Built Communities, a dynamic nonprofit on the front lines of the SDoH that builds networks to empower communities in their actions to end intergenerational poverty. Purpose Built Communities works with business leaders, community members, and other partners from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to concurrently address housing, education, and community wellness. This front-line attention is proactive and hits the SDoH at their core within local neighborhoods.

The RWJF investment will promote health equity by forging the development of a network of functional communities. At present, 27 of these communities have been activated across the United States, and their efforts are impressive. Collaboration is fostered across the macro and mezzo levels of community business leaders, members, and local partners who invest in public housing, education, and other resources that drive neighborhood wellness. Ultimately, their interventions hit the micro-levels of practice for clients and communities, with promising outcomes.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) awarded researchers at DePaul University $6.6 million to focus on the implications of African-American youth violence in and around Chicago. Collaborators on the project include Rush University Medical Center and Heartland Health Centers, which administer the school-based health centers in Chicago Public Schools. 

The research effort leverages use of the Success Over Stress curriculum, which has successfully provided students with the knowledge and skills to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress, identify triggers, distinguish adaptive and maladaptive coping techniques, and implement proactive stress prevention and management strategies.

For the DePaul award, a 15-session, culturally sensitive version of the Success Over Stress program is being implemented in Chicago Public Schools for African-American ninth-graders. The program is geared to enhance population health and wellness by directly addressing the stress and trauma that often stems from exposure to violence, whether direct or indirect in nature. With two efficacy trials completed, the program has demonstrated strong results, with 80 percent of participants reporting that the course helped them meet their stress-reduction goals. Current grant monies will train more school-based social workers to deliver the program to students while promoting evidence-based community health strategies.

Finally, CVS and their foundation have continued their strong support of services addressing the SDoH, with $2.5 million devoted to addressing substance abuse in Ohio. Grants to a number of different organizations will mitigate prescription opioid abuse and misuse, expand access to healthcare for underinsured and uninsured populations, and promote smoking cessation. A series of related initiatives to address both SDoH and SDoMH will also be launched, including:

  • $1.5 million over three years to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, to enhance care access for over 52,000 underserved Ohioans annually. The new grant program will allow the more than 60 free clinics across the state to increase capacity through additional staffing support, education, and training for clinic teams. Attention to chronic diseases will also be a priority of the new funding.
  • $100,000 to Easter Seals of Cincinnati, over two years, will provide immersive community-based care, including mental health and recovery services for veterans. 
  • $500,000 is going to the American Lung Association to help Ohioans quit smoking, providing more than a quarter-million Ohio Managed Medicaid plan members access to tobacco cessation services this upcoming year.
  • $30,000 is going to the Ohio chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, dedicated toward incorporating a youth tobacco screening tool to assist healthcare providers in identifying adolescent smoking/vaping behavior and smoke exposure, plus equipping healthcare providers with resources to share with their patients and caregivers.

The industry continues to demonstrate a constant commitment to investing large amounts of human and fiscal capital to rein in the costs associated with the SDoH and SDoMH. However, this goal has yet to be fully achieved. What will it take? Follow this continuing story weekly on Monitor Mondays, and the State of the Social Determinants report.

Programming Note:

Listen to Ellen Fink-Samnick’s live reporting on SDoH every Monday on Monitor Mondays, 10-10:30 a.m. EST.


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