RISE looks at recent headlines concerning social determinants of health (SDoH).

Aetna and ACES partner to improve autism care and services for members

Aetna, a CVS Health company, and ACES 2020, LLC (ACES) have partnered to expand access for Aetna members to industry-leading autism care and services from ACES in 2021, according to a recent announcement from CVS Health. The collaboration, which went into effect August 1, allows individuals and families impacted with autism spectrum disorder or other special needs to receive value-based autism care from ACES clinical providers.

The companies also announced Aetna’s first Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Institute of Quality, which will allow both Aetna and ACES to further expand access to quality autism care and reach more individuals and families.

“Our collaboration with ACES on Aetna’s first-ever autism Institute of Quality is a key part of our commitment to improving access to quality mental health care,” said Cara McNulty, DPA, president, behavioral health and employee assistance program, Aetna, in the statement. “The quality and effectiveness of ACES’ clinical care model for ABA is industry leading and together we’ll improve outcomes for more families and their communities. Our members deserve quality, value-based autism care coordinated with the well-being of the whole family in mind.”

HHS forms Office of Climate Change and Health Equity

In response to President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ) announced it will establish the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE), the first office of its kind at the national level to address climate change and health equity.

The Office will aim to protect vulnerable communities that are disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate-driven disasters, such as drought and wildfires, and face harmful health outcomes due to the conditions.

RELATED: Climate change as a SDoH–the new health crisis

“COVID-19 highlighted the inequities faced throughout our nation. Unfortunately, some of the same groups disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 will be the same groups struggling the most with the effects of climate change on our health. We will use the lessons learned from COVID-19 to address these disparities, prioritizing and protecting the nation’s health,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel L. Levine in the announcement.

In addition to addressing health disparities in the communities and populations disproportionately impacted by climate change, the OCCHE will promote research on public health benefits of multi-sectoral climate actions; assist with regulatory efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and criteria air pollution throughout the health care sector; foster innovation in climate adaptation and resilience; provide expertise and coordination to the White House, Secretary of HHS, and federal agencies; promote training opportunities to expand the climate and health workforce; and explore opportunities to partner with private sectors to support innovative programming.

The RISE Summit on Social Determinants of Health

Study reveals concerning increase of diabetes among children

The prevalence of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents has significantly increased, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities, according to the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study recently published by JAMA Network.

For the study, researchers examined records of 3.47 million youths between 2001 and 2017 from clinical centers in seven states, including California, Colorado, Ohio, South Carolina, Washington State, Arizona, and New Mexico. Among their findings: Prevalence of Type 1 diabetes among those age 19 and younger increased from 1.48 per 1,000 youths to 2.15 per 1,000 youths, and the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes among those age 10 to 19 increased from 0.34 per 1,000 youths to 0.67 per 1,000 youths.

While the prevalence of Type 1 diabetes was greatest among Black and white youths, Black and Hispanic children have experienced a greater increase in recent years. The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes also remained most common among Black and Hispanic youth.

Youth-onset Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are serious chronic health conditions and put the children at risk for early complications, comorbidities, and excess mortality, said researchers, noting those who develop Type 2 diabetes and those from racial and ethnic minority groups are at an even greater risk.