Healthcare Distributors Are Supporting Under-Resourced Communities During COVID-19

On October 7, HDA launched a three-part series to showcase how the distribution industry is helping create healthier communities through philanthropy, employee activism, partnerships with nonprofit organizations, and more.

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Part one explored how HDA’s distributor members are making a difference through corporate, foundation and employee support, and part two showcased how the industry is improving health equity and supporting patients struggling with economic marginalization. 

This week, we are sharing how HDA distributors have acted with urgency to meet the unprecedented needs of Americans, and individuals across the globe, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Focusing on Philanthropy Amid a Pandemic

HDA members have historically engaged in philanthropy to make a positive difference in the lives of people experiencing economic or social hardship — having seen firsthand how even targeted charitable acts can have a broader impact on their communities as a whole. In addition to global COVID-19 response effort contributions, they have focused on meeting the unique needs of their local neighborhoods that have been made economically vulnerable due to COVID-19. For example: 

  • The AmerisourceBergen Foundation, the not-for-profit charitable giving arm of AmerisourceBergen, works to improve the health and wellbeing of its patient populations — both human and animal — by investing in communities and partnering with organizations to expand access to quality healthcare, promote health equity and provide resources to ensure prescription drug safety.
    • Direct Relief, Americares and Healthcare Ready: At the onset of the pandemic, the AmerisourceBergen Foundation donated more than $1 million to support local communities, individuals and team members impacted by COVID-19. Grantees include Direct Relief, Americares and Healthcare Ready. 
    • Boys and Girls Clubs of America: The AmerisourceBergen Foundation also awarded an additional $700,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to address vaccine hesitancy in underserved communities.
    • The Associate Assistance Fund: Through the Associate Assistance Fund, the AmerisourceBergen Foundation continues to support team members facing hardship, including those resulting from the pandemic or natural disasters.  
  • Cardinal Health moved swiftly to fund nonprofit partners working with the people impacted most by COVID-19 in Central Ohio, with a focus on supporting at-risk students and their families.
    • Mid-Ohio Food Collective: When schools closed in the pandemic, children who relied on their school for free or reduced-price meals faced going hungry. The Cardinal Health Foundation donated $500,000 to the Mid-Ohio Food Collective so that low-income children could continue to receive nutritious meals throughout school closures. Funding supported meal distribution in the Columbus City Schools and Southwestern City Schools districts, where the majority of students are economically disadvantaged.
    • United Way of Central Ohio (UWCO): Early in 2020, the Cardinal Health Foundation provided a multiyear investment of $550,000 to UWCO to impact student success with these initiatives:
      • The COVID-19 Community Response Fund, supporting area nonprofits working to meet the needs of at-risk students and their families. 
      • The creation of a collective impact process to improve third grade reading success. 
      • Support of UWCO’s existing education investment process, to improve high school graduation rates in Central Ohio.​​​​​​
    • I Know I Can: This local nonprofit helps Columbus City Schools seniors stay in school, graduate and access higher education. Foundation funding supported a project coordinator, home visits and 1:1 outreach to the nearly half of Columbus City Schools seniors who were not on track to graduate in the spring of 2021.
    • Central Ohio Broadband Access Pilot Program: This public-private partnership, led by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and supported by additional federal CARES Act dollars, funded a broadband access pilot program across Central Ohio that provided low-income students with refurbished computers and hotspot devices.
    • Ohio State University (OSU) Athletics: More recently, when COVID-19 vaccines became available in Ohio in early 2021, the Foundation partnered with OSU Athletics to address vaccine hesitancy in disadvantaged communities by sponsoring a statewide public service announcement featuring former OSU linebacker and retired NFL player Joshua Perry. Watch the video here.

In addition to local philanthropic efforts, Cardinal Health worked with United Way Worldwide to support the basic needs of children and families and children’s education across six countries. They also provided emergency relief funding to the Red Cross Society of China.

  • Henry Schein Cares and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, Inc., donated over $38 million in cash and product globally in 2020, with a significant portion targeted at COVID-19 relief efforts and the promotion of health equity. 
    • ​​​​​​​The Wearing is Caring Campaign: Donations supported the launch of this public health awareness campaign designed to raise awareness of health care disparities in underserved communities, the need for social distancing and the importance of wearing face coverings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
    • Americares, Direct Relief, International College of Dentists, MAP International, MedShare, Project HOPE and Special Olympics:More than 10 million items, including face shields, hand sanitizer, isolation gowns, thermometers, coveralls and face masks were donated to Americares, Direct Relief, International College of Dentists, MAP International, MedShare, Project HOPE and Special Olympics. Ultimately, these items were distributed in more than 40 countries and territories to support underserved and underrepresented communities.
    • Go Give One Initiative: The Henry Schein Cares Foundation also has partnered with the WHO Foundation to amplify and contribute to the Go Give One Initiative, a COVID-19 vaccine campaign with no borders. The money raised by the campaign goes to an international financial mechanism called GAVI COVAX Advanced Market Commitment (AMC), which purchases COVID-19 vaccines for the world, prioritizing those who need them the most in countries that cannot afford them. COVAX is the vaccines pillar of a groundbreaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable global access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. It is co-led by GAVI, the vaccine alliance, the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), alongside key delivery partner UNICEF. 
  • Medline created the Wash-and-Wear Community Mask Project to provide 100,000 reusable face masks to help Black and Brown communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. In collaboration with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, YMCA Metropolitan Chicago and Knowality, the initiative was created to help provide greater access to basic personal protective equipment (PPE).  
  • The McKesson Foundation quickly recognized the role COVID-19 played in driving food insecurity among vulnerable communities and partnered with food insecurity experts to donate millions of dollars to more than a dozen food banks serving residents in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The donation has translated to more than 6 million meals for individuals who would otherwise go hungry. Additionally, McKesson’s Medical Surgical business has committed to donate PPE to charitable organizations to assist in COVID-19 recovery efforts.

As the COVID-19 response effort continues, HDA members will continue deploying resources and supporting partner organizations to fulfill the healthcare needs of Americans and others across the globe.​​​​​​​

For additional resources, visit HealthDelivered.org.

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