$100,000 grant from UnitedHealthcare and Meharry Medical College will help bridge public health and the Black community following pandemic hardships
NASHVILLE – A new NashvilleHealth program will create public health pathways to Nashville’s Black communities to address deep-rooted health disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. UnitedHealthcare and Meharry Medical College each invested $50,000 in the program – Healthy Pathways Nashville – that will work directly with Black faith leaders to identify and engage families who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A review of Nashville’s city-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic found that more work needs to be done to connect Nashville’s Black community with public health resources and messaging. Healthy Pathways Nashville will act on a key recommendation from the report to elevate leaders of Nashville’s minority faith communities as influencers and trusted representatives for information sharing and emergency response.
“At NashvilleHealth, we are proud and honored to have such incredible partners in healthcare, nonprofit, academic, and the faith community all committed to making Nashville a healthier place for all people,” said Mark Yancy, CEO of NashvilleHealth. “Our COVID-19 Response Review found that the Black community suffered disproportionately, which is a familiar theme when it comes to wellness challenges. That’s unacceptable. Our partners are committed to ensuring we address this to be better prepared in future health emergencies.”
Beginning in 2023, program cohorts from the African American Clergy Collective and Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship will identify 10 families within Nashville congregations who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meharry Medical College staff will conduct interviews and surveys with the families to identify what social factors contributed to their suffering during the pandemic. Meharry will then recommend ways to address the issue with the help of a $5,000 stipend per household. Healthy Pathways Nashville will work with the families to overcome barriers that can lead to negative outcomes such as housing, transportation, nutrition, and/or childcare.
“It’s critical that we all recognize how environments and circumstances impact health outcomes,” said Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Meharry Medical College president. “By working directly with families, we can better understand how these social determinants of health caused hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic and then work to overcome them in future health emergencies.”
The program cohorts plan to use the findings to inform public health policy and educate city leadership and community members.
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