Issues & Solutions

Health Equity

The unfolding COVID-19 pandemic has again highlighted the severe inequities that exist in the U.S. among persons of different races, as persons of color have experienced disproportionately higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death from the virus. Such striking, tragic disparities in the current health crisis are among the current-day effects of a history that, beginning with slavery, included overtly racist practices, policies, and traditions that require continued recognition and focused attention to address.

In Brief

  • Direct Relief works closely with the network of deeply committed nonprofit healthcare providers – health centers and free & charitable clinics.
  • Since their inception over 55 years ago as part of the Civil Rights movement and with the express purpose of providing access to health services for people of color who had none, health centers & clinics now reach 32 million people – more than 60 percent of whom are from a racial and ethnic minority group.
  • Since 2005, Direct Relief has provided over $1 billion in donations of medical resources and over $100 million in funding to over 2,000 health centers and clinics across the U.S.

Stories

Addressing Inequities in Health

The effects of structural racism on health among people of color can be addressed in a meaningful way by building upon and strengthening the existing structures and people that have proven effective to address racial health inequities and with deep commitment and knowledge of the critical social and cultural dimensions of the effects of racism on health among people and their communities.

Direct Relief has the privilege of working closely with the network of deeply committed nonprofit healthcare providers – health centers and free & charitable clinics and their teams – who employ the tenets of meaningful healthcare, care that is high-quality, accessible, affordable, and culturally appropriate. Located in medically underserved areas, these providers are anchors in their communities, and often provide health education, child and after school care, rental assistance programs, mobile healthcare, access to healthy food programs, and other critical social services that are responsive to societal factors that play a role in patient health.

Since their inception over 55 years ago as part of the Civil Rights movement and with the express purpose of providing access to health services for people of color who had none, nonprofit community health centers have seen tremendous growth and achieved demonstrable success in advancing that purpose – with strong evidence of expanded access and positive clinical outcomes achieved at lower comparative costs. Health centers & clinics now reach 32 million people – more than 60 percent of whom are from a racial and ethnic minority group.

Despite the significant accomplishments, unique insights, and essential role that community health centers and free & charitable clinics collectively play in meeting the needs of individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups, their access to private philanthropic resources is very limited – in large part because they are rooted in the medically underserved communities in which they work, the fact that they are locally run, and the resulting lack of public profile and experience in accessing such funds.

Direct Relief’s work towards Health Equity is focused on ensuring health centers and free and charitable clinics have access to the medicines and funding they need to serve their communities. Since 2005, Direct Relief has provided over $1 billion in donations of medical goods and over $100 million in cash to over 2,000 health centers and clinics.

Partnership Spotlight

The Latest