Project Health makes minding health affordable

A female customer standing at a Project Health booth located in the parking lot of her local CVS Pharmacy.

For Janai Derrick, staying healthy during the pandemic is essential to her dual role as a mother and a caregiver. Because her daughter has multiple health issues and developmental disabilities, Derrick needs to be vigilant in protecting her own health.

“One of my children is special needs and I'd like to be around as long as possible for her,” she says.

Derrick also has a family history of chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, which may increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

“I just want to stay ahead of that and not turn out like the rest of my family,” she says. “I have regular doctor visits, but I fully believe in checking on my health, even between appointments.”

So, when Derrick stepped off her bus and saw signs advertising free health screenings outside her CVS Pharmacy in Johnston, Rhode Island, she decided to check out the event.

Project Health events provide free health screenings in multicultural communities nationwide with large populations of uninsured residents. They include blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), glucose and cholesterol screenings to detect early risks of chronic conditions.

“At the heart of our purpose of helping people on their path to better health is our commitment to breaking down the barriers for people to access quality and affordable health care,” says Eileen Howard Boone, Senior VP Corporate Social Responsibility & Philanthropy.

This year’s events are funded through a $600 million investment over five years to address health disparities in disenfranchised communities. Access to screenings significantly impacts health outcomes – including COVID-19 infections and deaths – says Boone.

“COVID-19 is one of many examples of health issues that disproportionately impact communities of color more frequently than other racial and ethnic groups,” she adds.

Kristiana Giannini, a pharmacist in Johnston, says the events provide an important alternative source of care.

“As a pharmacist, we tend to be one of the most accessible health care providers,” she says.

CVS Pharmacist Kristiana Giannini seated at a table with Janai discussing her test results.
CVS Pharmacist Kristiana Giannini advises Janai on her test results

At the event, Derrick learned that her blood pressure was high, even though she is currently on medication. She plans to check in with her doctor.

“The pandemic has opened up a whole new world of what life looks like for us and what we have to be careful of,” she says. “It only made me more diligent about wanting to check my health.”

Learn more about Project Health including locations for free screenings, at

Since 2006, Project Health has delivered more than $133 million in free health services to over 1 million Americans in underserved communities.

In 2019 alone, participants received:

  • 215,000 biometric screenings

  • 2,113 counseling sessions for smoking cessation

  • 2,672 referrals for flu shots