Helping colleges quit tobacco

Helping colleges quit tobacco
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At Healthy Communities News, we spotlight the people and places that are tackling local health challenges in impactful ways. The University of San Francisco (USF) is one of over 200 colleges and universities adopting policies to eliminate tobacco from their campuses as part of the CVS Health Foundation Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative. It’s a part of the $50 million commitment to help deliver the first tobacco-free generation launched by CVS Health soon after it quit selling tobacco products five years ago. We visited USF to see what a tobacco-free campus looks like and sat down with students, staff and our partner at the American Cancer Society for their thoughts on going 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free.


Students talk tobacco: Getting real with Temple University and Truth Initiative

With 99 percent of smokers beginning by the age of 26, college is a critical time to prevent the start of life-long addiction to nicotine and tobacco. Temple University in Philadelphia went smoke- and tobacco-free in July of 2019. We sat down with a group of their students for a candid conversation on how the program is going in its early days. We also chatted with Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative, a national public health organization focused on youth tobacco prevention known for its edgy, award-winning “Truth” campaign.

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Addressing food insecurity in local communities

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A volunteer (wearing a face mask) loads temperature-sensitive food into an insulated bag for distribution. A woman in a red coat observes him loading the insulated bag.

Families across the country are facing significant challenges as they work to keep people safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, for many families, these health concerns are coming hand-in-hand with an unfamiliar worry: food insecurity. Lost jobs, reduced incomes and loss of access to school lunches have left many struggling with having enough to eat. Across the country, local nonprofits are stepping up with expanded services and innovative approaches to meet the sudden surge of need in their communities — and CVS Health is joining them to help. CVS Health and The CVS Health Foundation have provided more than $900,000 to organizations in local communities working to provide food to vulnerable populations, especially school-aged children, seniors, and the uninsured.

A $250,000 grant to Feeding America supported efforts to pack and deploy emergency food boxes to high-need areas across the country, including Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, New York and Washington. These boxes will help local food banks provide children, families, and seniors with the food and nutrition they need, even as the need for food assistance increases.

A volunteer arranges pre-packaged cooked meals, in sealed containers, on a tray for distribution.

Many other organizations have developed entirely new approaches to respond to the unique needs created by COVID-19 and CVS Health is proud to support this work in the communities we serve. In Kansas City, Missouri, Feed Northland Kids received a grant of $20,000 to develop Community Food Kits. With shelf-stable foods, these kits are provided to families through in-school pantries, which will help address food insecurity among school-age children. And in Austin, Texas, a $25,000 grant to the Central Texas Food Bank helped the organization shift to a drive-through model to allow clients to still receive food while ensuring safety for clients, staff, and volunteers. Safety is a top concern at many nonprofits; Community Servings in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, used a $15,000 grant to streamline operations and continue to distribute more than 2,000 food boxes in April, even without the assistance of the as many as 75 volunteers they previously relied on each day.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented need and continues to present unique challenges in meeting that need. At CVS Health, we’re proud to support the local organizations that are rising to the challenge to continue to feed their communities.

To stay up-to-date on the latest CVS Health Social Responsibility news and content, sign up for email news alerts.

A volunteer (wearing a face mask) loads temperature-sensitive food into an insulated bag for distribution. A woman in a red coat observes him loading the insulated bag.
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Meeting the nutritional needs of at-risk populations

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A female volunteer pushes a cart full of food donation while wearing a face mask.

People facing serious illnesses often have specific dietary needs to support their health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, those needs are compounded in many ways. CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation are working to support local nonprofit organizations across the country to address the challenges presented by the pandemic, with a particular emphasis on organizations helping people on their path to better health by meeting their unique nutritional needs. We have awarded nearly $200,000 in grants to support 13 community organizations across the country, providing medically-tailored meals for individuals with serious illnesses.

One such organization is God’s Love We Deliver in New York City, a community particularly hard-hit by the pandemic. Through a grant of $15,000, our support will help them continue to deliver their medically tailored meals directly to clients’ homes while accommodating the changing needs created by COVID-19. CVS Health also awarded $100,000 to the California Food is Medicine Coalition, repurposing a portion of its three-year, $40 million commitment to invest in California’s health care delivery system to respond to the pandemic. This grant will support six local sites across the state as they expand their meal services in response to the pandemic.

A female volunteer, wearing a red coat, delivers a box containing food donations to female senior citizens, who is smiling while standing in the doorway of her house.

“The grant from CVS Health enables the six California Food is Medicine Coalition (CalFIMC) agencies to increase their services — delivering thousands of nutritious meals to low-income and medically fragile Californians who are sheltered in-place and at great risk of contracting COVID-19 and more vulnerable to complications and death,” said Ann Thrupp, Director of CalFIMC. “We greatly appreciate the support CVS Health has provided CalFIMC to help respond to urgent community food needs for highly vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Funding for these organizations, and others like them in highly impacted areas, meet a critical need. With the support of CVS Health, these local nonprofits will continue to navigate these challenges and ensure that nutritious food gets to the members of their communities who need it most.

To stay up-to-date on the latest CVS Health Social Responsibility news and content, sign up for email news alerts.

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Our COVID-19 community support

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A volunteer prepares bags of food for donation.

As we work with our community partners to address the COVID-19 pandemic, our purpose of helping people on their path to better health is more important than ever. With many individuals and communities in need, we are focused on finding meaningful ways to strengthen the communities we serve.

Here’s a look into how we’re supporting our local communities.

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COVID-19 local community support

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COVID-19 Response Fund


Food boxes and/or nutritional support


Local community support


Medically tailored meals


Senior services and food boxes

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Supporting relief efforts in our local communities

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A woman, wearing a face mask and gloves, handles produce in cardboard boxes.

For years, our purpose of helping people on their path to better health has guided us and remains the North Star on our journey to transform health care. Today, our purpose is more important than ever, as we work to address the most critical public health challenge in our lifetime — the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many individuals and communities in need and we are finding meaningful ways to support our employees, patients, customers and partners nationally and in the communities we serve.

With investments of more than $50 million in philanthropic support through CVS Health and the CVS Health and Aetna Foundations, we have focused our efforts on supporting the needs of the most vulnerable populations: school-aged children and their families, frontline workers, seniors, those who are underinsured or uninsured and, of course, our own colleagues. Our comprehensive approach includes:

  • COVID-19 resource action funds: CVS Health is providing local support grants, working with key leaders and partners at the local level to identify priority areas and organizations who can help with community resiliency efforts.

  • Food insecurity investments: As a result of the pandemic, many are struggling to access basic needs, including food and personal hygiene products. CVS Health has made $1 million in investments to address food insecurity and other community needs by distributing much-needed funds to local shelters and food banks. In addition, we’re making nearly $40M in product donations to community organizations around the country.

  • Outreach to underserved communities of color: African Americans have higher rates of underlying health conditions and chronic disease and data show COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting this community. CVS Health has launched a multi-faceted public education and awareness campaign aimed at closing the gap on misinformation and lack of information in minority communities, tapping into communications and marketing channels to help increase access to relevant resources and ensure more members of this at-risk community are informed and able to access the care they need.

  • Increasing telehealth and at-home health services: With shelter-in-place orders throughout the country, access to health care remains an important concern for all populations, but in particular those who are underinsured or uninsured. In response, the CVS Health Foundation is investing $2 million to support telehealth and expand capacity for free health clinics and community health partners to make these services more available and reliable for patients.

  • Frontline support: From health care workers and first responders to essential retail colleagues keeping store operations running each day, the safety and security of those on the frontline is critical.

    • Support for health care workers: CVS Health and the Aetna and CVS Health Foundations are donating nearly $2 million to support health care and clinical professionals access much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and behavioral health services. Grants to Americares, the American Nurses Foundation and Direct Relief will support access to PPE for health care professionals, including those in free clinics and community health centers around the country. In addition, these grants and additional funding for the Crisis Text Line will support behavioral health and mental wellbeing for frontline workers.

  • Workplace and employee support: We have committed to dedicate $1 million in value of colleague volunteerism to address the crisis to support services including clinical work, behavioral health support and peer-to-peer counseling. We also made a commitment to match up to $2 million in employee, board member and business partner contributions to the CVS Health Employee Relief Fund, which will make grants of up to $1,000 available to employees to address qualifying emergency needs related to the pandemic.

Read the full list of our partners supporting communities in need.

To stay up-to-date on the latest CVS Health Social Responsibility news and content, sign up for email news alerts.

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CVS Health announces opening of rapid COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites in Georgia and Rhode Island

CVS Health announces opening of rapid COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites in Georgia and Rhode Island
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Increased access to rapid testing will help local communities manage spread of the virus

Use of the Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test will provide on-the-spot test results

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — To help support local communities and the overall health care system in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, CVS Health joined forces with federal and state officials to announce the opening of rapid COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites in Georgia and Rhode Island. The test sites will bolster state efforts to manage the spread of the virus and provide on-the-spot test results.

CVS Health will utilize licensed health care providers from MinuteClinic, the company's retail medical clinic, to oversee the testing, which is currently available at no-cost to patients. The company is applying the significant learnings gathered from its COVID-19 testing site opened in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts on March 19, to help maximize the efficiency and safety at these new sites. For example, testing at these new sites will be held in large parking lots that are easily accessible and able to accommodate multiple lanes of cars at one time and will require eligible individuals to pre-register online. COVID-19 testing will not take place at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic locations.

"Our MinuteClinic providers join countless other heroic health care professionals across the country and around the world in forming the first line of defense against this devastating virus," said Troyen Brennan, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President, CVS Health. "Thanks to our partnerships with state officials and the utilization of advanced technology, our providers will be able to test large numbers of people in these states and make real-time decisions about treatment and appropriate next steps."

The rapid testing will be conducted using the new Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test, which recently received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the fastest available molecular point-of-care test for the detection of COVID-19. Positive results can be delivered in as little as five minutes and negative results in as little as 13 minutes.

"Increased access to rapid testing remains one of our top priorities in order to identify more cases, get Georgians the care they need, and prevent further infection in our communities," said Governor Brian P. Kemp. "This unique, public-private partnership will strengthen our testing capability as we continue to take the fight to COVID-19 in Georgia, and we are grateful for CVS Health's support to stop the spread of the virus."

"Today marks a giant leap forward in our efforts to combat this virus. Thanks to the partnership and generosity of CVS Health, we will be able to double our testing capacity and provide on-the-spot results to thousands of Rhode Islanders each day. Making testing rapid and readily available is the key to slowly reopening our economy, and today we are one step closer to that goal," said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo.

Rapid COVID-19 testing will be available to eligible individuals who meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to state residency and age guidelines. Patients will need to pre-register in advance online at CVS.com in order to schedule a same-day time slot for testing.

The test site will be located at Georgia Tech (352 Peachtree Place, Atlanta, GA, 30332) in Georgia and at Twin River Casino (100 Twin River Road, Lincoln, RI, 02865) in Rhode Island. For more information and to register for a test, please visit CVS.com.

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company in the world. We're evolving based on changing consumer needs and meeting people where they are, whether that's in the community at one of our nearly 10,000 local touchpoints, in the home, or in the palm of their hand. Our newest offerings from HealthHUB locations that are redefining what a pharmacy can be, to innovative programs that help manage chronic conditions are designed to create a higher-quality, simpler and more affordable experience. Learn more about how we're transforming health at http://www.cvshealth.com.

Media contact

Christine Cramer
christine.cramer@cvshealth.com

An Army National Guard member wearing fatigues, a traffic vest and a medical-grade mask, directs a patient through the rapid COVID-19 testing site in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
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CVS Health to provide ‘pop up’ pharmacy support for temporary COVID-19 medical monitoring facility at New Orleans Convention Center

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — In coordination with Governor John Bel Edward’s administration, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and state health officials, CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today established a temporary CVS Pharmacy to support the medical monitoring facility inside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The move is part of a larger state plan to use the convention center as a 1,000 bed coronavirus facility designed to ease the strain on New Orleans area hospitals preparing to treat an anticipated surge in COVID-19 patients. 

The ‘pop up’ CVS Pharmacy, which will operate from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily from an off-site location near the convention center, includes a rotating group of 26 full-and part-time CVS Health pharmacists and pharmacist technicians. They will assist with providing maintenance medication and offering counseling where needed for COVID-19 patients who do not require a ventilator or ICU and have been transferred from New Orleans area hospitals to the convention center, in an effort to increase hospital capacity for more severe COVID-19 cases.

The temporary pharmacy is not open to the general public, and is in place to deliver dedicated support to the state’s medical monitoring facility.

“We’ve demonstrated an ongoing commitment to supporting the citizens of New Orleans, especially in times of need,” said Jeffrey Schmidt, Senior Vice President, CVS Health. “Pharmacies are a critical resource for communities managing through the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ll continue to be here for customers and patients in New Orleans and throughout the country.”

As a leading national health care company with a local presence, CVS Health has continued to support the New Orleans community in times of urgent need. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, for example, the company’s employees were on the front lines of aiding in the relief and recovery efforts. Most recently, the company delivered $25,000 grants to both Second Harvest Food Bank and the Greater New Orleans Foundation. These grants are in addition to a $250,000 contribution to Feeding America, which is responding to the pandemic by distributing emergency food boxes to its network of 200 food banks in New Orleans and across the country to support vulnerable populations.

More information on steps CVS Health has already taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic — including waiving charges for home delivery of prescription medications and making diagnostic testing and Aetna-covered telemedicine visits available with no co-pay — is available at the company’s frequently updated COVID-19 resource center.

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company in the world. We’re evolving based on changing consumer needs and meeting people where they are, whether that’s in the community at one of our nearly 10,000 local touchpoints, in the home, or in the palm of their hand. Our newest offerings – from HealthHUB® locations that are redefining what a pharmacy can be, to innovative programs that help manage chronic conditions – are designed to create a higher-quality, simpler and more affordable experience. Learn more about how we’re transforming health at http://www.cvshealth.com.

Media contact

Joe Goode
Senior Director, Corporate Communication
401-378-5220 (Mobile)
Joseph.Goode@CVSHealth.com

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Supporting causes that matter to our employees

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When Erin Wright’s daughter was born 15 weeks premature, she weighed 1 pound, 5 ounces and had to stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 16 weeks.

When leaving the hospital to bring their daughter home for the first time, Erin’s husband turned to her and said, “We are going to give back to this place because this place gave us our daughter.”

That’s exactly what Erin and her husband have done thanks in part to the CVS Health Foundation Volunteer Challenge Grant Program. The program helps colleagues like Erin, a healthcare category manager, provide even more support to the causes that matter to them.

When leaving the hospital to bring their daughter home for the first time, Erin’s husband turned to her and said, “We are going to give back to this place because this place gave us our daughter.”
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Grants, which range from $500 to $5,000, are awarded directly to the organization on the colleague’s behalf.

“We hear all the time from the organizations that receive challenge grants that they really rely on those funds,” says Joanne Dwyer, CVS Health Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability. “They're critical in helping them advance their mission.”

Along with Erin, watch the video to see how the program is supporting colleagues like CVS Pharmacy intern Willie Dunnam. Willie is working with the underserved population in Mobile through a student-run free health clinic, which recently used $1,000 from the program to purchase an AED (automated external defibrillator).

“Everybody has a chance to volunteer,” says Willie. “It shows you what you can do.”

A photo of Erin Wright in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UMass Memorial Health Care.
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CVS Health and its foundations support community and employee needs amid COVID-19 pandemic

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced the company and its foundations are giving more than $1 million in new investments to address food insecurity and other community needs in response to ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CVS Health Foundation will also match up to $1 million in employee contributions to the CVS Health Employee Relief Fund, a public charity supporting colleagues during unanticipated and unavoidable financial hardships and emergencies. The fund will make $1,000 grants available to employees to address qualifying emergency needs related to the pandemic. CVS Health is also easing programmatic restrictions on certain grants made by the company and its foundations in 2019 and 2020 to give nonprofit organizations more flexibility to use the donated funds to address the most pressing needs.

“Supporting the communities we serve and building on the steps CVS Health has taken to support its employees aligns with our purpose of helping people on their path to better health,” said Eileen Howard Boone, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy for CVS Health, and President of the CVS Health and Aetna Foundations. “We’re also focused on much-needed flexibility for our partners, including loosening existing grant guidelines whenever possible.”

CVS Health and its foundations are addressing community needs with support for United Ways and other community organizations responding to the pandemic. Much of that support is dedicated to Rhode Island, Connecticut and Arizona, where many of the company’s employees are based. The CVS Health Foundation has provided $100,000 to the United Way of Rhode Island to support the Rhode Island COVID-19 Response Fund, and the Aetna Foundation has provided $100,000 to support the Connecticut United Ways’ Neighbors in Need Emergency Response Fund. In addition, the company has provided $50,000 to the Arizona Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

CVS Health is also providing $250,000 to support the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, Feeding America, which is responding to the pandemic by distributing emergency food boxes to its network of 200 food banks across the country to support vulnerable populations. The company is further addressing food insecurity with support for local food banks and nutrition-focused nonprofit organizations in many states, including some of the hardest-hit such as New York, California and Washington.

“There are many people in the communities we serve who lack access to basic needs, including food and personal hygiene products. We’re supporting organizations of all sizes that have the infrastructure in place to provide relief in the safest way possible,” said Boone.

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company in the world. We're evolving based on changing consumer needs and meeting people where they are, whether that's in the community at one of our nearly 10,000 local touchpoints, in the home, or in the palm of their hand. Our newest offerings – from HealthHUB® locations that are redefining what a pharmacy can be, to innovative programs that help manage chronic conditions – are designed to create a higher-quality, simpler and more affordable experience. Learn more about how we're transforming health at http://www.cvshealth.com.

About the CVS Health Foundation

The CVS Health Foundation is a private charitable organization created by CVS Health that works to build healthier communities, enabling people of all ages to lead healthy, productive lives. The Foundation provides strategic investments to nonprofit partners throughout the U.S. who help increase community-based access to health care for underserved populations, create innovative approaches to chronic disease management and provide tobacco cessation and youth prevention programming. We also invest in scholarship programs that open the pathways to careers in pharmacy to support the academic aspirations of the best and brightest talent in the industry. Our philanthropy also extends to supporting our colleagues' spirit of volunteerism through Volunteer Challenge Grants to nonprofits where they donate their time and fundraising efforts. To learn more about the CVS Health Foundation and its giving, visit www.cvshealth.com/social-responsibility.

About the Aetna Foundation

The Aetna Foundation is a charitable and philanthropic affiliate of CVS Health. As a national health foundation, the Aetna Foundation promotes wellness, health and access to high-quality health care for everyone.

Media contact

Erin Shields Britt
Corporate Communications
Erin.Britt@CVSHealth.com

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