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Pfizer Awards $2M to Nonprofit Organizations Addressing Systemic Health Inequities

Equity is a core value at Pfizer, and we have a longstanding commitment to helping resolve deeply ingrained systemic health inequities. To make better health possible for everyone, everywhere, we develop programs and embark on partnerships that help educate, include, and reach communities that have been historically overlooked.

One of those programs – the ‘Communities in Action for Health Equity’ grant program – awarded just over $2 million to 11 nonprofit organizations to conduct community-driven research, learning, and intervention projects across the country. Launched by the Pfizer Multicultural Health Equity Collective (The Collective) and Pfizer’s Institute of Translational Equitable Medicine (ITEM), the program provides funding for innovative, community-based solutions to address systemic drivers of racial and ethnic health disparities.

“The Communities in Action for Health Equity grants program resulted from many candid discussions with health equity leaders about how we can move forward more equitable care and actually drive systemic change,” said Niesha Foster, Vice President, Global Health and Social Impact, Pfizer. “Our partners are truly at the forefront of this work and while we know this will be a multi-year effort, we feel Pfizer can play an important role in bringing multi-disciplinary leaders together and investing in the community-led solutions they helped identify.”

Historically underserved and underrepresented communities face disproportionate health burdens driven by systemic barriers, including racism, that impact the quality and accessibility of care. In the U.S., average life expectancy masks significant racial and ethnic disparities. For example, the average life expectancy for non-Hispanic American Indians or Alaska Natives is seven years lower than it is for non-Hispanic whites.1 While health disparities have persisted for decades, communities have consistently developed solutions to disrupt systemic drivers of inequity. Our program seeks to help expand some of these solutions to create greater impact in partnership with organizations dedicated to advancing health equity.

“The Institute of Translational Equitable Medicine strives towards a holistic end-to-end approach spanning research, development, and medical activities to identify and address the root causes and drivers of healthcare disparities,” said Dr. Aida Habtezion, Chief Medical Officer, Pfizer. “Communities in Action for Health Equity takes a critical step forward in advancing the equity research agenda by investing in organizations steeped in and trusted by historically underserved and underrepresented communities.”

Communities in Action for Health Equity projects will be implemented across a range of health issues and are focused on four key intervention areas: 1) Healthcare Facilities and Delivery, 2) Workforce Pathways, 3) Policy, and 4) Research and Data.

"AAPA is honored to be selected through the Pfizer Multicultural Health Equity Collective and Institute of Translational Equitable Medicine to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in the healthcare workforce,” said Jennifer M. Orozco, DMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, American Academy of Physician Associates, Chief Medical Officer. “Through the PAthways Program, we aim to enhance the representation of underrepresented and underserved minorities in the PA profession, which will ultimately improve access to care for all patient populations."

Read more about our grantees and their work below. To learn more about The Collective and Pfizer’s health equity work, visit

Healthcare Facilities and Delivery
  • Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) – Engaging Asian American & Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islander Communities in Vaccination 
    Engaging Asian American & Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islander (AA & NH/PI) Communities in Vaccination (EVAC)’s will work with local and national community organizations to design and deliver effective interventions that seek to improve vaccination coverage among AA & NH/PI and help reduce disparities in vaccination coverage among AA & NH/PI, including childhood vaccinations, routine immunizations, and respiratory syncytial virus.
  • Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF) – Moving from Data to Action: Forging Partnerships to Mitigate Drivers of Health Inequalities 
    HCIF will forge partnerships between Southeast Pennsylvania hospitals and community-based organizations to co-develop, implement, and evaluate strategies to close gaps in care and health outcomes. HCIF will employ a community-wide engagement approach, working with hospital teams to identify health outcomes and patient populations with the greatest rates of racial inequities and collaborate with community partners to develop and implement actionable strategies that address the root causes of and barriers to equitable health outcomes.
Workforce Pathways
  • American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) – PAthways: Increasing Representation in the PA Profession 
    The AAPA has set out to increase representation of underrepresented and underserved minorities within the Physician Associate/Assistant (PA) profession. The PAthways program aims to reach more than 2,000 Black, Latina/o/x, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, and other racial and ethnic minority college-level students through awareness building and mentorship, preparing them for a PA career path.
  • Día de la Mujer Latina – Equity in Acción: Training Promotores/Community Health Workers to Advance an Inclusive Workforce 
    To help address inequities more effectively and ensure that healthcare solutions are culturally tailored, Día de la Mujer Latina will expand its bilingual, culturally meaningful training Motivate, Inform, Navigate, Educate (MINE) framework, designed for Promotores and Community Health Workers, as a medium to transform the health and wellness workforce landscape.
  • BLKHLTH – Community Advocacy for Racial Equity School (CARES) 
    BLKHLTH will implement BLKHLTH Community Advocacy for Racial Equity School (CARES), a training program for undergraduate and graduate students on health career tracks who are interested in serving as health equity advocates for their local communities.
  • National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) – Addressing Urban Indian Health Disparities through Policy Change 
    NCUIH aims to provide support and technical assistance to Urban Indian Organizations seeking to raise awareness and foster dialogue around the unique health policy needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives living in urban areas. NCUIH will engage with decision-makers, stakeholders, and policy organizations to provide educational support and drive meaningful policy changes to improve health and equitable healthcare delivery.
  • The Century Foundation (TCF) – Listening to Doulas: A community-based evaluation of New York State Medicaid Doula Services Benefit 
    TCF aims to increase access to community-based doula services for Medicaid enrollees in New York state by ensuring that community-based doulas, particularly Black or Latinx doulas, can provide equitable and sustainable care. TCF and Ancient Song Doula Services will evaluate the implementation of the New York State Medicaid Doula Services benefit, from the perspective of community-based doulas themselves, to inform state policy recommendations.
  • Henry Ford Health (HFH) – Development of a Health System and Black/African American Community Partnership as a Foundation for Inclusion, Diversity, and Health Equity in Cancer Care and Research Policies and Programs at the Henry Ford Cancer Institute 
    HFH seeks to develop a sustainable partnership with Black/African American communities and support inclusive and equitable cancer clinical trial participation. An institutional-level mandate will be developed to ensure community leadership partners are engaged to review and develop policies and programs that promote inclusion, diversity, and health equity.
Research and Data
  • Essie B. & William Earl Glenn Foundation for Better Living – Accessing Breakthroughs in Health Outcomes: Uprooting (Un)deservingness in Impoverished Black Rural Communities 
    Accessing Breakthroughs will examine the quality and access of healthcare from the perspectives of impoverished families in the Mississippi Delta. The Glenn Family Foundation (GFF) will investigate whether interaction with healthcare providers, as well as access to nutritious foods, is predictive of reported adverse childhood experiences, health status, and healthcare access. GFF posits that exposure to quality healthcare and resources shift personal perceptions of health ‘deservedness’ or ‘undeservedness.’
  • WNC Health Network – Advancing Health Equity in Western North Carolina through Data-Driven Insights 
    WNC Health Network aims to reduce racial health disparities in western North Carolina by enhancing the availability and utilization of disaggregated health data. WNC Health Network will collaborate with local grassroots community-based organizations and data experts to uncover nuanced health disparities and social determinants of health affecting underserved and marginalized communities in the region.
  • Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Genomic Medicine – Addressing Systemic Drivers of Racial Health Inequalities in Large-Scale Biobank Studies 
    To address a significant yet underexplored research gap, this study aims to improve data and health equity initiatives by assessing the representativeness of the All of Us Research Program, a large National Institutes of Health research program that seeks to build one of the largest and most diverse health databases in history. The project also aims to enhance the analytical rigor of studies utilizing the All of Us cohort to foster a research landscape that champions data equity and U.S. and global health equity.
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