Improving health equity will require collaboration among a broad range of partners, including drug store operators, said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, VP and chief health equity officer, CVS Health.
“The inequities that we see across the country were created over multiple centuries, and involve not just the healthcare system, but also education, housing, transportation and other sectors that are crucial to people being able to live prosperous, healthy lives,” she said. “That means that efforts to address health equity are not simple, easy fixes, and will take time and intentional, prolonged effort and collaboration to achieve success.”
“By focusing on being data-driven, expanding and implementing initiatives that are evidence-based, and centering the voices and experiences of those who have been historically marginalized, we are confident we can collectively make progress in achieving health equity across the country,” Khaldun said.
[Read more: Watch DSN: CVS Health's Community Equity Alliance addresses health care disparities]
Jim Kirby, chief commercial officer, Kroger Health, meanwhile, said creating awareness around the robust suite of health services that Kroger offers has been one of the key challenges the company has faced. To help generate more awareness, the retailer recently launched a brand campaign, called “a world of care is in store” to highlight services such as its tele-nutrition counseling.
Last year, Kroger collaborated with other organizations to discuss solutions to combat hunger, poor nutrition and diet-related diseases at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. The company committed, in partnership with the American Heart Association and Rockefeller Foundation, to mobilize $250 million to build a national “Food as Medicine” research initiative, Kirby said.
“Additionally, through our collaborations with health systems across the country, we can nimbly work to optimize the patient experience to improve healthcare delivery and maintain continuity of care while expanding the frontiers of care and treatment,” he said.