Why maintaining an equity-centered approach is critical to our mission
Healthcare Ready was created in 2006 to protect patients and support our healthcare supply chain during a crisis. The resources on this page reflect our collective impact as we’ve worked to help build resilient communities that are prepared for, can respond to, and recover from natural disasters and pandemics.
As a nonprofit, our approach includes working with partners in the public and private sectors to prepare residents, strengthen infrastructure systems, and ensure emergency response initiatives are in place. When these resources are insufficient or non-existent, entire communities and the very people who depend on them for survival will suffer. In 2005, the world watched as Hurricane Katrina devastated communities, caused disproportionate harm, and revealed deep structural and systemic inequities throughout the region that still exist.
Examples like this are why we maintain an equity-centered approach in all our activities – our mission depends upon it. This includes our partnerships with the healthcare and emergency management sectors. We help them take an equity lens to their roles in mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery to protect public health. We also draw attention to opportunities for them to create equitable outcomes at every step in that cycle.
Healthcare Ready constantly explores ways we can work together to ensure that at a minimum, the work to support communities navigating a crisis are not made more inequitable. At a maximum, we dismantle existing inequities and work towards a more equitable community and society in the process. Our goal is to eradicate the systemic barriers that prevent communities of color, low-income, medically fragile, and other historically underserved groups from becoming more resilient in the face of impending disasters. Their futures depend upon it.

“Racial equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care,”

The Impact of COVID on Communities of Color (IC3)

The COVID-19 pandemic has left no corner of American society untouched, but its impact has been especially harsh on communities of color and those facing economic hardships. The pandemic brought unprecedented challenges, including financial insecurity, limited access to vital safety nets, and barriers to healthcare. These challenges not only strained individuals’ ability to afford housing, medical care, and basic expenses but also took a toll on their mental and emotional well-being. 

Recognizing these disparities, Healthcare Ready, with support from the Walmart Foundation, launched the Impact of COVID on Communities of Color (IC3) Project. This initiative employs three research strategies—mapping, polling, and community interviews—to uncover the unique needs and struggles of these vulnerable communities. Notably, mapping revealed that a significant percentage of counties facing high vulnerability to COVID-19’s impact were predominantly non-white, with a majority of their population living in poverty. Polling data showed that emotional and mental health suffered greatly during the pandemic, with demographic variations in the challenges faced. Finally, community interviews in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Hidalgo County, Texas, spotlighted widespread food insecurity, housing and employment issues, mental health needs, and disparities in healthcare access. 

The IC3 Project’s findings underscore the urgent need to address disparities in the pandemic response and improve outcomes for the most vulnerable among us. To explore the comprehensive data and recommendations from this project, click here. Together, we can work towards a more equitable and resilient future for all Americans. 

You can learn more about the IC3 project here


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