CVS Health Launches Community Equity Alliance to improve health outcomes in underserved communities
Collaborations with Meharry Medical College, Sinai Chicago and Wayne State University will expand access to community health workers and care
WOONSOCKET, R.I.—CVS Health® (NYSE: CVS) has announced a new initiative that will address barriers to care in underserved communities across the country. The CVS Health Community Equity Alliance is being established to expand the community health worker workforce, enhance connections between health care institutions and communities and address disparities in heart health and mental health outcomes. The Alliance is part of the Company’s commitment to advancing health equity.
The first institutions joining the initiative are Meharry Medical College, Sinai Chicago and Wayne State University. CVS Health is providing funding to each institution for locally tailored initiatives and will bring Alliance members together to share best practices and work to integrate lessons learned into the Company’s health equity strategy.
Through the power of collaboration, expansion of evidence-based interventions and a shared commitment to integrating the voices and lived experiences of community members, the Alliance will create innovative solutions to help make health care more accessible and decrease health disparities.
“The Alliance is being established to elevate the voices, needs and experiences of local communities, as institutions work to remove barriers to equitable care,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer, CVS Health. “These collaborations will help us deliver on our health equity strategy and commitment to making health care accessible for everyone.”
Collaborating with Meharry Medical College to expand the community health worker workforce
Meharry Medical College and CVS Health will work together on the recruitment and training of community health workers, increasing the diversity of local clinicians and decreasing health disparities in heart health and mental health. Community health workers will partner with faith-based or community-based organizations to provide health education and connect historically marginalized communities to health resources. Meharry Medical College will also conduct a continuing education program for health care professionals focused on the patient-centered medical home and share strategies for how to work with organizations in medically underserved and rural communities.
“Access to health care services is critical for good health and increased quality of life. People living in rural and underserved communities are often met with extreme and historical barriers to accessible health care services, deemed common and usual in a rational health care system,” said Pat Matthews-Juarez, Ph.D., Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation and Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College. “Meharry Medical College and CVS Health are establishing an apprenticeship pathway for community health workers interested in community-based nursing that will strengthen and extend health care services to medically underserved and rural communities in Tennessee. This collaboration leverages our mission for improving health outcomes for vulnerable populations, while advancing health equity.”
Partnering with Sinai Chicago to bring health resources to underserved communities
Sinai Chicago and CVS Health will focus on engaging the community in the North Lawndale neighborhood in Chicago. Through the collaboration, Sinai Chicago and CVS Health will provide residents with tailored health and social resources to address health disparities, with a focus on heart health and mental health. Sinai Chicago will also recruit residents in local neighborhoods to become community health workers through its Block Leaders program. As a community health worker, individuals are trained to connect local residents with critical health information and resources, while building their own career paths in health care.
“Our collaboration with CVS Health enables both Sinai Chicago and our community partners, like the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council, to set the stage for creating an innovative and transformational approach to addressing health and social issues that contribute to the lower life expectancy rates challenging our community members,” said Debra Wesley, President, Sinai Community Institute. “Our Block Leaders from I Am Able’s TR4IM initiative will work as community health workers and use the Personal Community Self-Administered Health Needs Assessment and Social Determinants of Health Pilot Project to provide the tools and skills that will enable our community members to take control of their own health and wellness.”
Working with Wayne State University to expand community engagement and training
The collaboration with the Wayne State University Center for Health Equity and Community Knowledge in Urban Populations (CHECK-UP) will create a multi-sector community coalition to assure integration of community voice and alignment of community assets and resources to decrease heart health and mental health disparities in Detroit. The collaboration will also train faculty, staff and community members on best practices in community-engaged research and expand opportunities for skill-building for the community health worker workforce.
“We are grateful to CVS Health for this collaboration, which will support much-needed initiatives to address health disparities in Detroit and the surrounding region,” said M. Roy Wilson, President, Wayne State University. “Strengthening relationships in the community and training community leaders will develop grassroots avenues to further our work to improve the health of the people of Detroit.”
For more information on how CVS Health is advancing health equity, visit cvshealth/healthequity.com.
About CVS Health
CVS Health® is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. We reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through our local presence, digital channels and over 300,000 dedicated colleagues – including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and nurse practitioners. Wherever and whenever people need us, we help them with their health – whether that’s managing chronic diseases, staying compliant with their medications or accessing affordable health and wellness services in the most convenient ways. We help people navigate the health care system – and their personal health care – by improving access, lowering costs and being a trusted partner for every meaningful moment of health. And we do it all with heart, each and every day. Follow @CVSHealth on social media.
About Meharry Medical College
Meharry Medical College is one of the nation’s oldest and largest historically black academic health science centers dedicated to educating physicians, dentists, researchers, and health policy experts. Founded in 1876 as the Medical Department of Central Tennessee College, Meharry was the first medical school in the South for African Americans. It was chartered separately in 1915. Today, Meharry includes a medical school, dental school, graduate school and applied computational sciences school; and is home to the Center for Health Policy at Meharry. The degrees include Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.), Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.), Master of Science (M.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. Meharry Medical College also produces the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, a public health journal.
About Sinai Chicago
Sinai Chicago is a Chicago-based private, not-for-profit organization, includes seven member organizations serving the West and Southwest Sides; Mount Sinai Hospital, Holy Cross Hospital, Sinai Children’s Hospital, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, Sinai Medical Group, Sinai Community Institute and Sinai Urban Health Institute. The system has 4,000 employees, over 800 physicians on its hospital medical staffs, 654 licensed beds, 100,000+ annual emergency department patient visits and eight physician residency training programs. www.sinai.org
About Wayne State University
Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information, visit wayne.edu.