RISE and Aligning for Health are joining forces to present a two-day conference, November 28-30, in Washington, D.C. where attendees can engage with government leaders on federal efforts to increase coordination and impact of programs and services that address health and social needs.

RISE, in partnership with Aligning for Health, a member association that advocates to Congress for solutions to address social determinants of health (SDoH), will take a deep dive into federal policies at The Social Determinants of Health Policy Forum, November 28-30 at the Hilton Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

The two-day conference will feature presentations and panels that explore the Biden Administration’s approach to SDoH, insights from Congress, policy development across the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and state and local approaches to coordinate funding and data sharing. Notable confirmed speakers include Karen Hacker, M.D., MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, who leads all of CDC’s work on SDoH and chronic disease prevention, Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), two of the co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus, and Richard Cho, Ph.D., senior advisor for housing and services, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), among many others.

While RISE has had panel discussions about SDoH policy during its national summit, this is the first time it has devoted an entire conference to the topic. Attendees at previous events have had so many questions about policy that RISE reached out to Aligning for Health, a D.C.-based SDoH advocacy coalition, to discuss partnering on a conference that delves into initiatives that the federal government are doing well, the gaps, efforts to better coordinate programs, and what payers, providers, community-based organizations, state-based and local officials, and health networks can do to move the needle on SDoH.

The goal of both organizations is to provide an intimate setting where attendees can have a robust discussion with policymakers from across the federal government, including different agencies within the administration and leading champions on Capitol Hill who have advocated for legislation that addresses SDoH.

The Social Determinants of Health Policy Forum

The conference will also help empower attendees with tools and information that they can bring back to their local communities, said Casey Osgood Landry, senior director, Aligning for Health.

Strides in federal policies, SDoH efforts

The health care industry and the federal government have made great strides in awareness of and efforts to address SDoH in the five years since Aligning for Health was founded. The conference is an opportunity for those in the field to better understand the levers that policy officials work with and the funding opportunities, and for federal officials to learn what is happening day-to-day in the field and what needs to be done to bridge gaps.

“We’re seeing so much activity– including funding, efforts to improve data collection and exchange, new policies and initiatives–from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from CMS, the Administration for Community Living, and from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, among others, related to social determinants of health, said Melissa Quick, co-chair of Aligning for Health. We've also seen bipartisan coordination from Congress in trying to provide additional funding for social determinants of health programs and infrastructure and to improve how federal programs can work together to support social needs. So, I think it will be helpful for folks in the audience to hear how far the federal government has come to date. But this is an opportunity for folks in the audience to then share in dialogue with administration and congressional officials about what they are seeing on the ground, and what more is needed,” she said.

And, Quick emphasized, “This is something that impacts the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities across the country; individuals may not be able to access healthy foods or housing, or may have limited transportation options to be able to get to a pharmacy or to their primary care provider or access the food bank or the grocery store,” she said. “Breaking down siloes and ensuring coordination across sectors and programs is a bipartisan issue that everybody should care about. Within communities of all stripes, whether rural or urban or in suburbia, there are individuals and families that are facing challenges and we want to make sure that our programs and services are set up best to be able to meet everybody's needs.”

Conference details

The agenda continues to evolve, and a list of speakers will be announced shortly. Here’s a look at what’s planned so far:

The conference begins Monday, November 28 with a preconference networking cocktail reception for all attendees.

During the main conference days on November 29th -30th, topics will center around:

  • The Biden Administration’s approach to SDoH
  • State and local approaches to funding and data sharing
  • Policy developments across CMS
  • State approaches to addressing SDoH
  • Expanding community capacity to advance whole person health
  • How health care entities are working to address social needs
  • Federal cross-sector partnerships to address SDoH
  • Insights from the Hill: Congressional social determinants of health caucus
  • Connecting health and social services providers to address social needs
  • Insights from Congress: Advancing SDoH legislation
  • Federal incentives for cross-sector partnerships

The Social Determinants of Health Policy Forum will take place November 28-30 at the Hilton Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Click here for more information about the program, registration information, and how to sign up for event updates.