FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Providence Announces $1.4M Investment to Achieve Health Equity and to Combat COVID-19 Health Crisis in Underserved SoCal Communities
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — Providence, a national, not-for-profit Catholic health system, announced today an initial investment of $1.4 million to reduce health disparities and to achieve health equity for communities of color and for those disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Los Angeles and Orange counties and the High Desert communities of San Bernardino County.
This funding will be used to assist in expanding outreach and education, increasing the COVID-19 testing supply to marginalized populations, promoting access to care and ensuring equitable distribution of treatment, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes widely available. To date, Providence has delivered 40,000 COVID-19 prevention kits, 6,000 COVID-19 testing kits and 30,000 COVID-19 surge kits to reduce continued spread in Southern California.
At present, the COVID-19 death rate for Latinx people is 21% higher than the statewide average in California, and the death rate for Black people is 10% higher than the statewide average. In addition, the COVID-19 case rate for Pacific Islanders is 33% higher than statewide. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is clear a second pandemic of racial inequity is large, persistent and increasing. Communities of color oftentimes face polluted environments, inadequate housing, absence of mass transportation, lack of educational and employment opportunities and unsafe working conditions, all of which serve as deadly barriers to care.
“Providence’s commitment of $1.4 million to Southern California is more important than ever, as it’s become clear the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis is disproportionately affecting communities of color,” said Erik G. Wexler, president, strategy and operations, Providence - South. “Providence is dedicated to listening and partnering with our communities so that we can better understand and ultimately overcome structural and cultural barriers at the local level.”
This initial $1.4 million investment is part of Providence’s larger commitment of $50 million over the next five years to reduce health disparities and to achieve health equity in the seven states it serves. Health equity is achieved when everyone has the opportunity to attain their full health potential without being prohibited by social barriers or other socially determined circumstance.
In addition to COVID-19 prevention and education, Providence is working with its community partners to address the predominance of hypertension in the Black community, as well as access to primary care and screenings for Asian Pacific Islander and Latinx communities.
Providence’s founders in Orange County, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, have a long, established history of advocating for the rights of those facing racism and discrimination. The Sisters of Providence, who came to Los Angeles County in the 1940s, left a living legacy of outreach to the poor and vulnerable. Providence is rooted in recognizing the inherent dignity of every person and the belief that health is a human right, regardless of racial or ethnic identity.
Providence is a national, not-for-profit Catholic health system comprising a diverse family of organizations and driven by a belief that health is a human right. With 52 hospitals, 829 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing and many other health and educational services, the health system and its partners employ more than 119,000 caregivers serving communities across seven states – Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington with system offices based in Renton, Wash., and Irvine, Calif.