August 06, 2020

Wyden Co-sponsors Bill to Study, Address Health Impacts of Social Inequities on Communities of Color

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said today he is co-sponsoring legislation that would study the role of unemployment, hunger, lack of affordable housing, education and other social determinants in worsening health inequities for communities of color.

As the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, Wyden has prioritized addressing systemic racism in the nation’s health care system and the economy as a whole.

“COVID-19 spotlights what’s been true for far too long – that communities of color suffer disproportionate health care impacts because of devastating discrepancies in employment, food security, housing and more,” Wyden said. “This bill would both provide greater focus on those glaring disparities and invest real resources to address them.”

The Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2020 would authorize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to begin work on improving health outcomes and reducing inequities by investing in the efforts of the federal government, and of public health agencies and community organizations to address the adverse impact of social determinants

The measure, endorsed by more than 195 organizations across the country, would authorize the CDC to create a program to improve health outcomes, reduce health inequities, and improve capacity of public health agencies and community organizations to address SDOHs. This legislation would:

  • Coordinate across CDC to ensure programs consider and incorporate social determinants of health in grants and activities.
  • Award grants to state, local, territorial, and Tribal health agencies to address social determinants of health in target communities.
  • Award grants to nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education to conduct research on best practices for addressing the social determinants of health.
  • Coordinate, support, and align social determinant of health activities at the CDC with other federal agencies.
  • Collect and analyze data related to social determinant of health activities.
  • Authorize $50 million annually for program activities.

In addition to Wyden, other co-sponsors of the bill introduced by U.S. Sens. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) are Senators Angus King, (I-Maine), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.).

More information about the bill is here.