Dawson serving on advisory council for Direct Relief Fund for Health Equity

$75 million fund supporting community organizations addressing social, health and economic inequities

Photo: Martha Dawson The COVID-19 pandemic and social justice movements that gained national attention in 2020 helped shine a light on what many have known for decades—there is a global health crisis with health disparities at its root.

To support efforts that address the burden of years of disrespect, inequities and socioeconomic disparities on health, humanitarian aid organization Direct Relief has established the Fund for Health Equity, which will provide financial support to community health centers, clinics and community-based organizations that address the social determinants of health.

The fund will be steered by an advisory council that includes University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Associate Professor and two-time alumna (BSN 1976, MSN 1984) Martha Dawson, DNP, MSN, RN, FACHE. Dawson also is President of the National Black Nurses Association and has worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to encourage community outreach and education regarding the virus, vaccine and more.

“I’m excited that they invited me to the table to help with selecting organizations that meets the funders, criteria for the restricted donations. Direct Relief has been providing national and international support 70 years of more, and they have provided much needed support during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Dawson said.

As a member of the advisory council, Dawson will help recommend and review community organizations that are working to address social, health and economic inequities to receive funding from Direct Relief Fund for Health Equity.

“This includes pharmacies, nurses, practitioners, community-based groups and more who are serving their communities but might not be getting the federal support that others are able to get,” she said. “With this fund, one thing the team will assess is individuals who are already working in underserved rural and inner communities. How can we support those small, independent, or charitable clinics? How we do we support a nurse-managed of clinic? How do we collaborate with faith-based organizations that are providing screening and preventive health care services, including education and prevention?”

These funds extend outside of activities to address COVID-19 care, but the care that provides needed resources such as food, safe housing, employment opportunities and other resources. Preventative care measures that impact wellness includes encouragement of healthy diet, active lifestyle or health behaviors that may not be reimbursable as tests, screening or treatment, Dawson said, which highlights this funding importance for small health care clinics and others.

“For example, we have providers working in communities on the west end of Birmingham—they are not only doing exams and providing medical treatment, but they are also looking at other needs,” Dawson said. “Meeting population needs may include taking fans to older residents to keep them cool in the summer, combining health outreach with social engagement activities. However, you are not going to find health insurance systems paying for these types of interventions/care.”

Other members of the advisory council include:

  • Co-Chair Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, 18th U.S. Surgeon General of the United States, Founder BayouClinic, Inc. and UAB School of Medicine graduate
  • Co-Chair Byron Scott, MD, MBA, Board Director of Direct Relief and Chair of its Medical Advisory Council
  • Jane Delgado, PhD, MS, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health
  • Gail Small, JD, Head Chief Woman, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe

For more information about Direct Relief and the Fund for Health Equity, go to https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/direct-relief-establishes-fund-for-health-equity-with-initial-75-million-301238812.html?

Read 276 times Last modified on April 22, 2021

Upcoming Events