The HHS National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services (NACRHHS) presented a webinar on March 14 to highlight their findings on social determinants of health from the most recent committee meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. RUPRI Human Service Panel member and NACRHHS Committee member, Kathleen Belanger, participated in the webinar and presented the Committee’s recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The recommendations are:
- HHS should develop a federal “Healthy Communities” designation that recognizes place-based, community-driven plans to address the social determinants of health and provides inter-agency federal support through preference points, technical assistance, and consolidated funding streams.
- HHS should facilitate coordination and collaboration among hospitals, health systems, and human service providers on Community Health Needs Assessments and Community Benefit Agreements to support the development of local strategies to address the social determinants of health.
- HHS should structure grant review panels to allow rural applicants to be reviewed as a separate cohort in order to compete against similarly resourced communities.
- HHS should encourage the use of priority points for rural applications that face unique structural challenges related to the social determinants of health such as but not limited to geographic isolation, low population density, higher poverty and lower life expectancy
- HHS should offer technical assistance and Funding Opportunity Announcements which highlight ways rural organizations can factor in the administrative costs of effectively managing grants into their budgets and project plans.