J&J Community Initiatives Tackle US Healthcare Chasm

Johnson & Johnson to support community-led US health groups that support marginalised communities in bid to level-up healthcare provision across the US

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is to collaborate with community-led health organisations across the US who support marginalised communities, in a bid to improve health equity in the country.

Studies show people of colour in the US face disparities in access to health care, quality of care and mortality compared to white counterparts.

A study from the national Institutes for Health (NIH) shows that most of the economic burden for racial and ethnic disparities in the US is borne by the African-American population (69%) due to the level of premature mortality. The NIH is is the largest biomedical research agency in the world and is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Meanwhile, according to Confronting Poverty -- a project to measure US poverty levels -- poverty in the US stands at 17.8%. This compares to an averge of 10.7% across 25 other countries in the developed world. The country with the lowest overall rate of poverty is Denmark, with just 5.5%.

And despite ongoing advancements in US healthcare, race-based and ethnicity-based healthcare disparities persist.

The J&J levelling-up programme will involve community-based programme support. Among the estimated 100 groups it will help are:

  • It Takes Philly’s Black Doctors Consortium improves health care quality and access to clinics in Philadelphia’s low-income communities.
  • Black Women’s Health Imperative empowers black women to take charge of their health through diabetes prevention and self-management classes.
  • The National Association of Community Health will use J&J funding to improve health outcomes for communities of colour and create pathways for nurses of colour to advance in their careers.

The company has also set up the Health Equity Innovation Challenge for Start-Ups, to support innovative solutions developed by entrepreneurs and start-ups. 

Among hundreds of applications, five local health innovators will receive $75,000 in seed funding and mentorship from J&J leaders to help expand and scale their programs.

Those awarded include: Dion’s Chicago Dream, which combats food insecurity in Chicago; the Greater New York City Black Nurses Association, which seeks to improve the health care of African Americans; and SisterLove, the oldest women-centred HIV and sexual & reproductive justice advocacy organisation in Atlanta.

J&J My Health Can’t Wait Initiative

Another strand of J&J’s community healthcare operations is My Health Can’t Wait Initiative. To date this has reached over 100,000 people, delivered 16,000 health screenings and distributed 35,000 packets of educational materials to communities of colour, ays J&J

Over the next six months, it will visit 25 US cities, starting with Houston, Texas, to mark April’s Black Men’s Wellness Day.

J&J Global Corporate Affairs EVP Vanessa Broadhurst says: “We recognise that to effectively address healthcare disparities, changes must occur at all levels in our society. 

“Supporting the work of grassroots organisations, community health centres and national associations is integral to identifying and implementing enduring healthcare solutions.”

J&J is involved in therapeutic areas including oncology, immunology, neuroscience, cardiovascular, pulmonary and hypertension. The company also innovates around less-invasive personalised treatments for complex diseases in the areas of orthopaedics, surgery and vision.

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