In honor of this year’s Black History Month theme of “Black Health and Wellness,” Becton, Dickinson, and Company (BD) announced their commitment to advancing health equity with their $500,000 investment in an innovative initiative spearheaded by Americares and the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC).
The groups seek to reduce health inequities among patients served by free and charitable clinics in the United States – a disproportionate percentage of whom (64%) are racial or ethnic minorities.
It has been shown that racial, societal and economic factors have a direct impact on people’s health and their ability to access needed healthcare and other resources. For example, multiple studies show that Black people experience higher rates of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, are more likely to die from treatable conditions, and live fewer years, on average, than white people.
BD, says they recognize that working toward the purpose of Advancing the world of health means taking steps to understand and address the root cause of these health disparities, so they can address them. That’s why they are collaborating with, and investing resources in, communities and NGOs to help them understand and address the racial, societal and economic factors that influence people’s health.
In the U.S., more than 2 million low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients rely on free and charitable clinics for their healthcare. Unlike federally funded clinics, free clinics often rely solely on volunteers and private donations to sustain operations. These healthcare heroes serve as a lifeline for individuals striving to support their families, including adults who don’t qualify for government assistance and cannot afford health insurance. Without free and charitable clinics, many patients would utilize emergency rooms for basic health care needs or go without care.
This initiative, which is being implemented with support from Loyal University Chicago, is the first national effort to collect data that measures the quality of care provided by free and charitable clinics.