The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that communities of color are disproportionately burdened by racist and oppressive systems—from health care to education to housing—with significant consequences to physical and mental health. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color are evident in the health care system, and are compounded by inequitable community systems.
Community Solutions for Health Equity is a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) launched in the summer of 2019. It is focused on elevating the voices of communities of color and other communities left out of discussions when local health care systems in the United States are creating policy. Racism and bias are often at the root of communities of color and other communities being excluded from policy considerations, often by design.
This program attempts to address those issues directly: by supporting communities to identify a problem that negatively affects consumers; envision solutions; and partner with health care systems to implement them. Consumer groups and community-based organizations bring a deep understanding of community needs, assets, and culture to health care ecosystem work. The health care ecosystem includes the full spectrum of organizations and social structures that impact a person’s health and health care. Too often, the priorities of health care systems (hospitals, providers, and insurers) do not line up with the priorities of community-based organizations and the consumers living in the communities to whom the health care systems are providing service.
Applications are due October 7, 2020.