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.
Sincerely, Perry Fri Chairman, Healthcare Ready Executive Vice President, Healthcare Distribution Alliance
Healthcare Ready 2021 Annual Report
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.
Partner-Approach to Meet Growing Demands
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:
- Supply chain operations and demand for pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment (PPE), diagnostics, and other critically needed supplies;
- Workforce challenges in healthcare, especially frontline providers and support staff;
- Business continuity across critical infrastructure sectors power healthcare supply chains;
- Border restrictions and impacts of travel advisories and quarantine recommendations.
Building Equity and Resilience
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.
Disaster Response Amidst the Sustained Pandemic
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.
Our Unique Position in Emergency Response
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.
Partnerships and Outcomes-Based Initiatives
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.
- With funding from the Walmart Foundation and research from the University of Maryland and the University of Southern Alabama, Healthcare Ready conducted and released findings from the Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color (IC3) Project. The project helped identify the most pressing concerns and needs of communities to highlight the disparities in response efforts and outcomes of the pandemic.
- Additional support from the Walmart Foundation allowed us to develop and release the Community Disaster Resilience Tool (CDRT), which will help community leaders, emergency managers, local officials, and researchers prepared their communities for the hazards and vulnerabilities most pertinent to them for years into the future. The CDRT Council of Experts provided critical input on the development of the tool to make sure it is user-friendly and has the most important data leaders need for health preparedness and response.
- Working with the Medtronic Foundation, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, and health experts and community leaders, we created the VaxxChat webinar series, in which 21 webinars were facilitated. The VaxxChat series was designed to educate the public about ongoing COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution efforts. Each session addressed areas of concern by bringing on members of the healthcare community and community leaders to answer some of the most pressing questions about vaccines.
- In a series of events and cross-posted blogs with the National Black Nurses Association, we lifted the voices of and identified ways to care for frontline healthcare workers.
- In our sixth year partnering with YouGov, Healthcare Ready analyzed data on the nation’s greatest disaster concerns and preparedness habits. Findings from the 2021 National Preparedness Poll revealed information on some of the factors that contribute to disparate impacts that disasters have on communities of color, low-income individuals, the medically fragile, and other vulnerable communities.
- With funding from the Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare and in partnership with the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved, we launched the ARCHER initiative for community health centers.
- Healthcare Ready partnered with Idaho Primary Care Association to conduct emergency preparedness trainings and to support the adoption of key preparedness practices that could be used within the ID PCA network.
- Healthcare Ready Executive Director Dr. Nicolette Louissaint appeared on numerous radio shows, podcasts, and webinars to discuss common areas of concern related to the COVID-19 vaccine, including appearances on WURD’s Reality Check radio show, The Better Samaritan podcast, the United Church of Christ’s Tuesdays for Nurture webinar series, the Refuge Church of God’s We Need to Talk webinar, the Red Lip Theology podcast and the It’s Up to You Campaign, the National Minority Quality Forum, the Capitol Hill Steering Committee, and a discussion with Freedom Road Podcast host, Lisa Harper.