AHA Award-Winning Quest Diagnostics Tackles Health Care Inequities

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For its strong leadership in addressing barriers to health equity, Quest Diagnostics will receive an American Heart Association Award of Meritorious Achievement. (Photo courtesy of Quest Diagnostics)

Shared values ​​create strong bonds, a feeling that perfectly describes the collaboration between the American Heart Association and Quest Diagnostics. Specifically, both organizations share a passion for making health care accessible to all people, regardless of age, race or zip code.

To that end, Quest launched Quest for Health Equity in 2020. The multi-year initiative of Quest Diagnostics and the Quest Diagnostics Foundation focused on providing a combination of donated screening services, education programs and funding to support initiatives to close the gap in health care disparities in underresourced communities across the United States

“At Quest, we saw firsthand the impact COVID-19 was having on underserved communities from our data and knew we had to do more than flag issues,” said Steve Rusckowski, President and CEO. general and president. “Through Q4HE, we are striving to do our part to help meet this challenge.”

Part of these efforts includes Quest’s support of Green Bronx Machine, an educational nonprofit that helps students and teachers transform classrooms into agricultural learning experiences through cooking, gardening, and and culinary. The award-winning program uses urban agriculture and education to help meet the needs of food insecure people, educate people, and feed students and their communities.

“In our first year, Quest for Health Equity has helped organizations address a range of systemic inequities in healthcare and led education and awareness efforts that enable better health outcomes for people. most vulnerable among us,” said Mandell Jackson, vice president and general manager. manager of Quest for Health Equity. “I am very proud of our team and the passion with which they approach this work to make a difference for underresourced communities.”

In recognition of its strong leadership in creating solutions to overcome barriers to health equity, Quest Diagnostics will receive the Meritorious Achievement Award at the annual virtual AHA National Volunteer Awards event on June 28, 18. a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time. The event is open to the public for see on youtube.

A powerful commitment

Through its Quest Diagnostics Foundation, Quest has partnered with the AHA to pilot hypertension management and COVID-19 relief and support the expansion of research and mentorship opportunities for Black and hispanics.

The Quest Diagnostics Foundation is funding a new initiative to help provide evidence-based high blood pressure resources to 10 federally licensed health centers serving the underfunded communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This funding commitment also supports the expansion of the Association’s Historically Black College and University Scholars Program and enabled the Association to launch the first class of its Hispanic Institution Scholars Program.

Through this grant provided by the Quest Diagnostics Foundation, the AHA doubled the cash award for students in the existing cohort of HBCU Fellows and provided funds for 10 new research stipends at five additional HBCUs.

At center, Stacey Ingram, senior director of networked initiatives for Quest Diagnostics' Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE), and Mandell Jackson, vice president and general manager of Q4HE, with the inaugural cohort of Hispanic fellows serving institutions during the AHA research symposium at the University of Houston in Texas in April.  (AHA)
At center, Stacey Ingram, senior director of networked initiatives for Quest Diagnostics’ Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE), and Mandell Jackson, vice president and general manager of Q4HE, with the inaugural cohort of Hispanic fellows serving institutions during the AHA research symposium at the University of Houston in Texas in April. (AHA)

Along the same lines, the new HSI Scholars program provides research stipends, mentorship, and leadership development opportunities to Hispanic students in STEM fields who attend HSIs in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Texas and Puerto Rico.

The Association of American Medical Colleges reported in 2018 that only 5% of practicing physicians identified as black or African American and 5.8% as Hispanic.

“We are proud to team up with the American Heart Association to support innovative solutions to advance health equity,” said Jackson. “These programs will help make a real difference to promote diversity in health care and enable better health in the communities we serve.”

Jackson hopes this collaboration with the American Heart Association will inspire other private, public, and nonprofit organizations to join forces around the commitment to address health inequities in meaningful ways.

“Working together, we can create powerful collaborations that drive change in addressing systemic disparities in health care,” he said. “These shared commitments will impact the lives of communities that have historically been marginalized and build a more equitable future for generations to come.”

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