At Providence, our vision – health for a better world – is driven by a belief that health is a human right. Every person deserves the chance to live the healthiest life possible. But many people in our communities don’t get that opportunity simply because of the color of their skin.
Systemic racism persists in nearly every major facet of society. That includes in health care and the social determinants of health. And the consequences are often deadly, leading to higher mortality and morbidity rates for communities of color.
Change begins with us. Providence is taking two important steps toward ensuring everyone in our communities has an equal chance to achieve health.
- We have updated our integrated strategic and financial plan to more clearly express our commitment to addressing racial disparities in health care and the social determinants of health. The updated plan also includes sharper language around diversity, equity and inclusion for our caregivers, as well as for those we serve.
- We are investing $50 million over five years to improve health equity in our communities. As part of this work, we will develop a comprehensive pandemic response for minority populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This includes prioritizing at-risk groups for testing, treatment and vaccinations. In addition, we are calling upon our regions and lines of business to develop strategic plans to address health equity at the local level. Listening to communities to learn about cultural issues and structural barriers is another key component of this work.
Thank you to Rhonda Medows, M.D., our president of population health, for her leadership on this issue. Using comprehensive data collection and analysis, the work supported by this investment will serve as a key component of Providence’s commitment to addressing racial disparities in health care and will supplement Providence’s longstanding community benefit work. In 2019 alone, Providence’s community benefit totaled $1.5 billion systemwide.
As the late U.S. Congressman John Lewis once said, “Each generation must do its part to create a more fair, more just society.” Together, let’s do our part to create a healthier world for everyone.