Dr. Rhonda Medows on the Societal Impact of COVID-19
In this story:
- Providence is making a long-term commitment to integrating health equity into its daily work and incorporating it into its system-wide strategic and financial plan.
- To advance health equity in the near term, Providence has prioritized equitable vaccine deployment, data-informed approaches, program evaluation and sustainability, inclusive language in every patient and caregiver interaction and in the electronic medical record, and provider education.
- Providence released a health equity statement developed by caregivers from across the Providence family of organizations.
In 2020, with social unrest erupting across the nation and disparities in COVID-19 on full display, Providence responded by committing $50 million to health equity over five years, as well as formally integrating this work as a top priority in its strategic plan.
“The signs of the times called us to action. Though we still have a long way to go, it’s incredible to see how much we've accomplished and how many lives we’ve touched in a short amount of time.” –Rod Hochman, M.D., president and CEO of Providence
Over the past year, Providence’s health equity work has focused on underserved, marginalized and/or oppressed communities most impacted by the pandemic. Providence has prioritized equitable vaccine deployment, data-informed approaches, program evaluation and sustainability, inclusive language in every patient and caregiver interaction and in the electronic medical record, and provider education. Providence has also advanced non-COVID-19-focused programs and initiatives supported by learning collaboratives to accelerate change.
Over the past year, with these strategic priorities, Providence was able to:
- Serve 457,060 individuals
- Partner with 502 community organizations
- Host 417 testing and vaccine events for underserved communities
- Provide 31,561 COVID-19 tests, 47,129 COVID-19 vaccines and 4,789 flu vaccines for underserved communities
- Provide 158,110 COVID-19 kits to individuals in need
- Connect 76,826 people from underserved communities to care
“As I reflect on the past year, I am grateful to the caregivers of Providence for stepping up to answer the call to achieve health equity. This is sacred work, and our caregivers have shown up as advocates, leaders and trusted partners. Together with our community partners, we have helped mitigate disparities in COVID-19, as well as hypertension, diabetes, cancer and mental health. Thank you to all our caregivers and partners for ensuring that action follows promising words.” –Rhonda Medows, M.D., president of population health management for Providence
Providence also released a health equity statement developed by caregivers from across the Providence family of organizations. The statement articulates the organization’s vision of a world where every person has the chance to live their healthiest life. It also outlines five commitments that Providence pledges to deliver to every patient and every community it serves:
Build, strengthen and maintain relationships with our diverse communities, including people of color, indigenous people, those who identify as LGBTQIA+ and others experiencing inequities, oppression and discrimination.
- Listen to and partner with our patients, communities and health plan members to understand and actively reduce structural, racial and cultural barriers to health for all.
- Partner with community organizations to develop data-informed health equity strategies and implement proven practices to resolve the root causes of health disparities.
- Amplify the voices of all people impacted by oppression. Advocate to reform the drivers of health, social and economic disparities. And, in keeping with our faith tradition, use our voice to speak out against the structural racism and injustice that has led to a public health crisis.
- Prevent further harm, humbly welcome discussion and feedback, and foster a culture of continuous learning and transparency.