The Root Causes of Health

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Why do we so often treat the symptoms of a problem and not the root cause? The gamechangers on this episode of Add Passion and Stir go straight to the cause. Barbara Petee, Executive Director of The Root Cause Coalition, and Lauren Shweder Biel, Executive Director of DC Greens, speak with Share Our Strength founder and CEO Billy Shore about solutions to deep-rooted social problems like hunger and poor health outcomes. Petee explains how the health care industry could be doing more to keep people healthy, which led to the creation of the Root Cause Coalition. “We need to engage the health care industry in addressing hunger as a health issue because the cost to health care is about $130.5 billion annually,” she says. “Should we not be investing more at the front end as opposed to paying at the back end?” Shweder Biel describes how DC Greens is doing that locally, working across sectors to discover systems-level solutions to food education, food access, and food policy. “Food is not a luxury,” she says.

The Root Cause Coalition – an Add Passion and Stir sponsor – works to address hunger and other interrelated social determinants of health. Petee is inspired by the progress so far. “[Our member organizations] are not organizations that are just thinking about delving into these areas, these are organizations that understand why they must and how they are working on solutions.” DC Greens is also looking at practical solutions. For example, Shweder Biel talks about their Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program where DC Greens also works to ensure that people living in low income neighborhoods have access to stores where they can fill those prescriptions. “The advances in root causes and embedding them into clinical settings is such an important first step, but there needs to be a solution that goes along with that,” she stresses.

Be inspired by these real life solutions that are changing people’s health and life outcomes.

Resources and Mentions:

No Kid Hungry

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.

Root Cause Coalition

The Root Cause Coalition is a national, member-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of health disparities by focusing on hunger and other social determinants leading to nationwide epidemic of preventable chronic health conditions.

DC Greens

DC Greens uses the power of partnerships to support food education, food access, and food policy in the nation’s capital. We’re working toward a city where food education is on the menu in every classroom; where doctors write prescriptions for fresh fruits and vegetables as a matter of course; where urban agriculture is a valued element of our cityscape; and where zipcode doesn’t determine life expectancy. By leveraging existing infrastructure, resources and talent, and doing the work of collaboration, we are building a healthy food system that can be a model for the nation.

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