CVS Health launched a new initiative Thursday called the Community Equity Alliance, which is in partnership with three institutions and aims to improve health outcomes in underserved communities.
The Alliance aims to grow the community health workforce, advance the connections between healthcare institutions and communities, and improve disparities in heart health and mental health. The first organizations working with CVS Health are Meharry Medical College, Sinai Chicago and Wayne State University. However, the retailer plans to add additional partners in the future, said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, vice president and chief health equity officer of CVS Health.
“It was really important for us to start and partner with organizations that are already important pillars and providers of services in underserved communities … These are the first partners in the Alliance and as we move forward, we’ll learn and we anticipate adding future partners.” Khaldun said in an interview.
Each partnership will focus on different goals in their respective communities. Below is a breakdown of the collaborations:
Sinai Chicago: The partnership with Sinai Chicago will be focused on the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago and will give local residents health resources, particularly for heart health and mental health. Sinai Chicago will also recruit locals to become community health workers through its Block Leaders program. These workers help connect residents with health information and resources.
Meharry Medical College: CVS Health and Meharry Medical College, located in Nashville, Tennessee, are collaborating to increase the diversity of community health workers. The two organizations will recruit and train workers, who will partner with faith-based or community-based organizations to offer health education and connect communities to health resources. Meharry will also have an education program for healthcare professionals that will train them to work with organizations in underserved communities.
Wayne State University: CVS Health is partnering with the Wayne State University Center for Health Equity and Community Knowledge in Urban Populations (CHECK-UP) to improve community engagement and training in Detroit. They’ll be forming a coalition with community members and will help build initiatives that are in alignment with community needs, with a focus on heart health and mental health. The partnership will also train faculty, staff and community members on community-engaged research.
Through the Alliance, Khaldun hopes to expand the workforce and gain insights on health disparities in underserved communities, she said.
“Each Alliance partner is going to be supporting the training and expansion of access to community health workers,” she stated. “It’s also about understanding for us, as a company, the local drivers of health disparities, particularly focused on heart health and mental health. And then also, importantly, connecting community members to care and decreasing heart health and mental health disparities.”
Picture: CVS Health