2021 raised the nation’s awareness of the need for a more equitable and resilient approach to public health and emergency management. As we entered our second year of the pandemic, we saw many challenges emerge to the forefront, including the struggles of communities disproportionately affected by emergencies to withstand and recover from these disasters. Leading with an equity-centered approach, Healthcare Ready’s programs focused on both addressing immediate impacts faced by these historically-disadvantaged communities as well as tackling systemic barriers to building a more resilient healthcare system and medical supply chain during times of crisis.
I hope you enjoy highlights of Healthcare Ready’s work in the following narratives and video stories. This collective impact could not have been achieved without the generous backing of the organization’s valued Members, Supporters, and Partners. Thanks to their support, Healthcare Ready is widely recognized as a trusted conduit and facilitator of public and private sector stakeholders within the emergency management sector. As chairman of Healthcare Ready’s Board of Directors, I look forward to continuing these collaborations to build and enhance the resilience of all communities in the face of the next disaster.
Chairman, Healthcare Ready
Executive Vice President, Healthcare Distribution Alliance
Healthcare Ready’s 2021 Annual Report highlights our work to bring together public and private sector partners to strengthen the nation’s disaster preparedness and response efforts. Below, you’ll find video stories from our team that highlight how we dealt with the twin challenges of responding to 27 natural disasters and simultaneously supporting communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Healthcare Ready’s Melanie Mackin, Courtney Romolt, and Angie Im speak on the most memorable challenges the organization faced in 2021 related to mitigating the impacts of natural disasters, safeguarding patient health, and incorporating equity and resilience into emergency management to find a better path forward. The team also touches on the most notable events that took place in 2021.
A cornerstone of Healthcare Ready’s work has always been to foster diverse partnerships to bring together the strength of public sector and private sector supply chain to support community needs after disasters. In 2021, we leveraged these relationships to help strengthen national health security as well as ensure patients’ access to healthcare. One notable highlight was our work with federal, pharmaceutical, and community-based partners amplify information related to the availability and benefits of COVID-19 therapeutics to historically underserved communities hardest hit by COVID-19.
We also leveraged new partnerships to extend our reach into even more communities. Since early 2020, our Emergency Operations Center has been “activated” for COVID-19, continuously assessing and addressing supply chain vulnerabilities in healthcare, including:
Healthcare Ready analysts Temitope Akintimehin, Syadatun Ahana, and Natalie Florez share their perspective on how to improve equity and resilience across communities that faced the biggest impacts of COVID-19.
Another hallmark of 2021 was the way we increased our organizational focus to advance equity in communities disproportionality affected during the racial, climate, and pandemic crisis we face as a nation. We worked with state primary care associations (PCA) across 12 states to launch emergency preparedness trainings for community health centers that serve vulnerable populations. Opportunity areas for training included, Engaging and Strengthening Partnerships, and Crisis Communication during Disasters – all of which was used to inform and launch subsequent webinar trainings for 200+ community health centers across the country.
We released our annual 2021 Domestic Preparedness Poll to assess barriers to individual preparedness habits – including reluctance for receiving COVID-19 vaccines, and launched VaxxEd, a multi-media channel vaccine education effort to combat vaccine hesitancy. Through VaxxEd, we reached 450,000 community members across the nation via videos (Blob Family series), over 20 trainings and radio VaxxChats and through more than 70 resources created through blogs, toolkits, infographics, and videos. We also created a library of COVID-19 content that included healthcare resources for community leaders, ways to combat vaccine hesitancy, data on where people turn to for help during times of disaster, and shared trusted, accurate vaccine information.
Healthcare Ready Analysts Sean Brzozowski and Melanie Mackin join Technical Specialist Ryan Dadmun in discussing the multiple challenges they encountered over the past year. From natural disasters overlapping with the ongoing pandemic response, to political unrest, to supply chain impacts, 2021 challenged the team to continuously respond to sustained and emerging disasters. The team shares their take on how, despite these challenges, Healthcare Ready was able to continue to leverage unique relationships with government, nonprofit, and healthcare supply chains to build and enhance the resilience of communities in the wake of multiple overlapping challenges.
In 2021, we successfully navigated multi-faceted challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic’s rapidly evolving disease variants, record-breaking wildfire and hurricane seasons, and healthcare supply chain disruptions. Our team was activated nearly 30 times throughout the year, providing constant support to hard-hit communities.
We continued to update Rx Open to help patients find the operating status of nearly 70,000 pharmacies throughout the country during emergencies. Working with our partners, we also created the Community Disaster Resilience Tool (CDRT), an interactive, map-based tool that is helping local officials better understand the nuanced risks faced by their vulnerable populations.
Healthcare Ready staff Andreana DeWester, Alessa Haller, and Ivor Urek share their thoughts on what sets the organization apart from other nonprofit organizations and the overall impact the organization has made in the field of disaster and emergency preparedness.
Our relationships across a broad spectrum of local and national officials, federal partners, private companies, and supply chain partners make us unique. They help us prepare the nation’s communities – especially those that are medically fragile – with the necessary tools to navigate and withstand natural disasters and pandemics. Despite this challenging year, we were able to respond to over 130 requests for information and assistance from patients and local officials in the wake of numerous hurricanes, California wildfires, COVID-19, and other regional events.
As we reflect on 2021, we’re humbled and honored that key stakeholders continue to value our role as a convener and coordinating body across healthcare, public health, and emergency management spaces, helping move the preparedness needle in the right direction.
Healthcare Ready would like to thank our Members, Supporters, and Partners for their generous support. The following are some of the notable partnerships that helped our team uplift the nation’s ability to respond to COVID-19, prepare for future pandemics, and withstand the impact of increasing natural disasters due to global climate change. The organization is also abundantly grateful to our Board of Directors who helped make these initiatives possible.