The Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Center, Inc. (AEHCHC) has been named an awardee of the first round of grants issued by Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity.
This funding will be used to support Community Voices project to help Aaron E. Henry enhance services and improve health in six Mississippi Delta counties.
Direct Relief seeks to mobilize financial resources for community health centers, free and charitable clinics and other nonprofit organizations focused on non-clinical interventions that affect a person’s health – commonly known as the social determinants of health, these factors include a person's physical, social, political, cultural, and economic environments.
Funding to AEHCHC will support an initiative to address health disparities affecting the clinic’s patient population (90% African American) across six rural Mississippi counties. It will do this by convening and training community stakeholders to identify and address social determinants of health, hiring staff to increase vaccination rates, providing wellness exams and screenings, and engaging teenagers around physical and mental health through school-based clinics.
“This funding from AbbVie and Direct Relief will help us expand the reach and scale of our efforts to transform the health of the communities we serve,” said Aurelia Jones-Taylor, chief executive officer of AEHCHC. “Our work is deeply rooted in and driven by the needs and strengths of each community we serve because the community health center model has always focused on identifying ways to improve health by addressing the social determinants of health.”
The grants were awarded with support from the AbbVie Foundation, which seeded the Fund for Health Equity with a $10 million donation as part of its commitment to support underserved Black and other communities across the United States.
“This initial round of grants from the AbbVie Foundation and Direct Relief recognizes organizations like Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services that are in the trenches every day supporting their communities which are impacted the most in terms of health disparities,” said Dr. Byron Scott, MD, MBA, Co-Chair of the Fund for Health Equity and Board Director of Direct Relief and Chair of its Medical Advisory Council. “I am humbled that both AbbVie and Direct Relief can help these organizations with their goals of improving health and wellness, including eliminating health inequities.”
“We are proud to support Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity and these community-focused organizations that will lead the way in improving care in many communities,” said Laura Schumacher, Vice Chairman, External Affairs and Chief Legal Officer, AbbVie. “This is just the first step as the Fund continues to identify more organizations across the country that are addressing health disparities through evidence-based programs and interventions.”
The first round of funding will support the following ten health centers’ and free and charitable clinics’ projects, including workforce diversification, reducing health disparities, and establishing or expanding innovative models of care:
• Community of Hope – Washington, DC.
• Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center – North Carolina.
• Institute for Family Health – New York.
• MLK Health Center & Pharmacy – Louisiana.
• Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services – Mississippi.
• Eskenazi Health – Indiana.
• Good Samaritan Health Center – Georgia.
• Health Brigade – Virginia.
• Delaware Valley Community Health – Pennsylvania.
• The Night Ministry – Illinois.
The awardees were selected by the Fund for Health Equity’s Advisory Council, which includes the following members:
• Co-Chair Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, 18th U.S. Surgeon General of the United States, Founder Bayou Clinic, Inc.
• Co-Chair Byron Scott, MD, MBA, Board Director of Direct Relief and Chair of its Medical Advisory Council
• Martha Dawson, DNP, MSN, RN, FACHE, President and CEO President of the National Black Nurses Association, Associate Professor the University of Alabama at Birmingham
• Jane Delgado, Ph.D., MS, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health
• Gail Small, JD, Head Chief Woman, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe
Direct Relief will announce additional grant awards this year.
AEH will conduct additional convening sessions in its other counties of service in the coming months. For more information on this effort, contact Tana Vassel, Director of Planning & Program Development, at 662-624-4292.