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CVS Health kickstarts initiative targeting health outcomes in underserved communities

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Photo: Courtesy of CVS Health

CVS Health is rolling out a new initiative, the Community Equity Alliance, in hopes it will address barriers to care in underserved communities.

The Alliance is being established to expand the community health workforce, enhance connections between healthcare institutions and communities, and address disparities in heart health and mental health outcomes.

The first institutions joining the initiative are Meharry Medical College, Sinai Chicago and Wayne State University. CVS Health is providing funding to each institution for locally tailored initiatives, and said it will bring Alliance members together to share best practices and work to integrate lessons into the company’s health equity strategy.


Sinai Chicago and CVS Health will focus on engaging the community in the North Lawndale neighborhood in Chicago. Through the collaboration, the two entities will provide residents with tailored health and social resources to address health disparities, with a focus on heart health and mental health.

Sinai Chicago will also recruit residents in local neighborhoods to become community health workers through its Block Leaders program. Community health workers are trained to connect local residents with critical health information and resources, while building their own career paths in healthcare.

Meanwhile, CVS and Meharry Medical College will work together on the recruitment and training of community health workers, increasing the diversity of local clinicians and ostensibly decreasing health disparities in heart health and mental health.

Community health workers will partner with faith-based or community-based organizations to provide health education and connect historically marginalized communities to health resources, CVS said.

Meharry Medical College will also conduct a continuing education program for health care professionals focused on the patient-centered medical home, and share strategies for how to work with organizations in medically underserved and rural communities.

Lastly, the collaboration with the Wayne State University Center for Health Equity and Community Knowledge in Urban Populations (CHECK-UP) will create a multi-sector community coalition meant to assure the integration of community voice and alignment of community assets and resources to decrease heart health and mental health disparities in Detroit.

The collaboration will also train faculty, staff and community members on best practices in community-engaged research and expand opportunities for skill-building for the community health worker workforce, CVS said.


It’s been a busy couple of weeks with CVS, with the company launching Virtual Primary Care last week, a virtual care offering focused mainly on primary care and mental health services. 

Through the launch, CVS is also expanding its virtual mental health services. Enrollees 18 and older are slated to have access to nationwide virtual mental health support from clinicians including licensed therapists and psychiatrists.

Not everything has been smooth going for the insurer, however. This week it was revealed that Cigna is suing CVS over the intended hire of former Cigna executive Amy Bricker. The lawsuit alleges this violates Cigna’s noncompete agreement, with the company saying it would be “immediately and irreparably harmed” if Bricker’s hire is allowed to continue.

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: [email protected]

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