After leveraging partnerships and community relationships to serve and educate patients during the COVID-19 pandemic—reaching over a million people—Wellstar Community Health and Wellstar Center for Health Equity teams continue community outreach efforts.
Taking on COVID-19 in our communities
Since 2020, Wellstar has partnered with Morehouse School of Medicine to join the National COVID-19 Resiliency Network (NCRN)—a nationwide consortium of organizations committed to improving the reach of COVID-19 health messaging, increasing connections to healthcare and social services, decreasing disparities in COVID-19 testing and enhancing community capacity for addressing the pandemic.
Programs led by the Wellstar Center for Health Equity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have included walk-up COVID-19 family testing and vaccination, distribution of masks and safety kits to at-risk communities, and dissemination of Spanish-language educational information. Wellstar will continue this work by educating communities about the spread of disease and distributing masks and hand sanitizer to fight illnesses such as the flu and COVID-19.
Meeting patients with the care they need
Through partnerships like the one with NCRN, the Wellstar Center for Health Equity implements multidisciplinary approaches to address social disparities and barriers to healthcare access.
Many patients skipped routine health screenings during the pandemic. Wellstar Community Health and the Wellstar Center for Health Equity focus on connecting community members with primary care providers and screenings including colorectal and prostate cancer screenings, continuing the outreach from the pandemic and meeting patients where they are.
“We recognized that people were working or had kids, and we tried to break down those barriers and get healthcare to people where they needed it,” said Nurse Manager Cindy Newman, who works with Wellstar Community Health and the Wellstar Center for Health Equity.
Building relationships to serve patients
Wellstar Community Health and Wellstar Center for Health Equity teams collaborate with partners such as the Georgia Department of Public Health to increase access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines.
Through the Wellstar Congregational Health Network—our partnership with local faith communities—Wellstar made testing, vaccines and accurate health information more accessible to the people we serve by hosting events at places of worship and virtual town halls in collaboration with faith communities.
Collectively, NCRN has reached over 1 million people and counting through virtual and in-person events. In addition to joining NCRN, Wellstar is also part of Georgia CEAL, another initiative of Morehouse School of Medicine that addresses the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities.