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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20 U.S. cities and counties pledge to improve local systems and policies to advance health equity with $2 million in grants from the Aetna Foundation

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APHA, NACo and Healthy Places by Design to collaborate on capacity-building efforts to accelerate community change

WASHINGTON — The Aetna Foundation, together with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), today announced the organizations selected to receive a grant as part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge to support communities that are changing the way they work together across sectors to reduce disparities in chronic disease outcomes. This grant program will award a total of $2 million to teams of organizations that will work together to change the food access and health care systems in their communities and engage community residents as leaders in their work.

"Access to health care and healthy food can significantly impact rates of chronic disease and other health outcomes, with average life spans varying by up to 20-30 years in communities that are just a few miles apart," said Aetna Foundation President Eileen Howard Boone. "We are proud to partner with APHA and NACo to support the work of the teams taking on the Healthiest and Cities & Counties Challenge to drive change and address these social determinants of health work that is now more important than ever, given the COVID-19 pandemic."

The Challenge teams will each receive $100,000 to implement multi-year projects to advance health equity in communities where individuals are disproportionately impacted by health disparities. In addition to the funding, Challenge teams will participate in one-on-one technical assistance provided by APHA and NACo and co-create a supportive peer-learning network led by Healthy Places by Design over the course of the two years.

The project teams are located in the following cities and counties:

  • Chula Vista, California

  • Tompkins County, New York

  • Collier County, Florida

  • Cumberland County, North Carolina

  • Deerfield Beach, Florida

  • Wilkes County, North Carolina

  • Dougherty County, Georgia

  • Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Cumming/Forsyth County, Georgia

  • Cleveland, Ohio

  • Perry County, Kentucky

  • Cambria County, Pennsylvania

  • New Brunswick, New Jersey

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Paterson, New Jersey

  • Kerrville, Texas

  • Orange County, New York

  • Greenbrier County, West Virginia

  • Rochester, New York

  • Wheeling, West Virginia

"There is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving health equity," said APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD. "Successful, lasting change comes from cross-sector partnerships and engaging affected individuals and communities, which is why this challenge is so powerful. Together, communities in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge will be able to achieve enduring transformations to public health."

Added NACo President Mary Ann Borgeson, "Counties play an essential role in protecting, promoting and improving health in our communities across the country. The Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge recognizes the positive impact of cross-sector partnerships and offers opportunities for counties to develop innovative approaches to meet residents' health needs."

The project teams intend to use what they learn over the next two years to produce models and resources that can inform work in other similarly sized cities and counties across the country. Challenge communities have proposed strategies including:

  • Increasing access points for purchasing fresh produce and receiving health care;

  • Leveraging local schools as partners;

  • Addressing barriers to transportation;

  • Building more equitable models for food procurement and distribution;

  • Increasing coordination and data-sharing across organizations;

  • Improving health care referral systems;

  • Developing community advisory boards; and

  • Informing local policies.

An expert review panel selected the teams following a rigorous review process, which looked at a variety of factors including: level of innovation of their proposed approaches; intended impacts on systems and policy change; and alignment of diverse partners around common priorities.

The Aetna Foundation, which first launched the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge in partnership with APHA and NACo in 2016, is an independent, charitable and philanthropic affiliate of CVS Health.

The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public's health.

Contact

Erin Britt
CVS Health
401-318-3962

APHA Media Relations
202-777-3913

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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.

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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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A stylized CVS Health® heart in the shape of red leaves on a green grass background.
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Helping fill America’s food pantries

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Bags of food collected at the Hockomock area YMCA in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Heather once visited a food bank for her elderly neighbors. Now, she needs help feeding her family. She’s not alone.

Heather, a married mother of two, rolled down her car window, took a deep breath for courage and quietly asked the masked volunteer for an extra bag of free food.

Over the past few weeks, Heather picked up bags from the makeshift food bank at the Attleboro area Hockomock YMCA in Franklin, Massachusetts to deliver to her elderly neighbors. But today was different.

Heather was unexpectedly furloughed from her job due to COVID-19-related shutdowns — and now her own family needed help. As she took the bag full of food from the YMCA employee, she says relief spread though her body with the knowledge that her kids would have a healthy dinner that night.

“I was worried I would have to feed my kids boxed macaroni and cheese, but the bag was full of fruits and vegetables,” Heather says.

Heather’s experience with food insecurity is one of many playing out across America in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. According to an April 2020 survey from Feeding America, a national nonprofit organization with a network of more than 200 food banks and 60,000 partner organizations, an estimated 40% of people seeking donations were visiting a food bank for the first time in their life. Equally concerning: 95% of its food banks saw more people needing help compared to last year, with an average 70% increase in demand for food assistance.

Hockomock area YMCA Board Chairman Mary Clermont and President Ed Hurley loading food into a vehicle.
Attleboro, Massachusetts, Hockomock area YMCA Board Chairman Mary Clermont and President Ed Hurley load food. On a recent Wednesday, 780 bags were picked up.

Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility & Philanthropy at CVS Health, says the crisis took America by surprise and created a need for basic food and necessities in a way the country has never experienced before.

Because nearly 60% of a person’s life expectancy is influenced by social determinants of health — such as food insecurity — CVS Health has made community health and wellness central to its corporate social responsibility. The company provided a $1 million donation to support community and employee needs amid the pandemic, including $250,000 to support Feeding America.

Food insecurities also create added COVID vulnerability for the country’s most at-risk citizens — those with fewer resources, chronic health conditions and less mobility. “Food and health are closely linked, making it essential for us to help those facing food insecurity,” says Boone. “We have supported organizations of all sizes to help address that need quickly and efficiently. We are really all in this together.”

For Heather, CVS Health’s commitment is life-changing.

For more information about CVS Health’s efforts to improve care across the nation, visit our News & Insights page and the CVS Health Impact Dashboard. To stay informed about the latest updates and innovations from CVS Health, register for content alerts and our Leaders in Care newsletter.

Bags of food collected at the Hockomock area YMCA in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
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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 supports COVID-19 relief efforts with nearly $1.5 million in grants to California nonprofits

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Funding will go toward expansion of telehealth services, online resources for first responders and medically tailored meals for vulnerable patients

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced that as part of its COVID-19 relief efforts it is re-purposing a portion of its three-year, $40 million commitment to invest in California's health care delivery system. Nearly $1.5 million in grants will immediately help four local nonprofit organizations expand access to telehealth services, address food insecurity among California’s most vulnerable populations and support the state’s paramedics and EMTs.

“Supporting local communities is part of our purpose of helping people on their path to better health,” said Kristen Miranda, California Market President for Aetna, a CVS Health company. “The role of our nonprofit partners has never been more important, which is why continued support is critical.”

CVS Health has allocated grants to the following organizations:

  • California Free and Charitable Clinics: These volunteer-driven clinics are all members of the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics and provide access to health care for the most vulnerable patients in California. CVS Health is funding $1,000,000 to support the expansion of telehealth services and support programs addressing food insecurity.

  • Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH): PBGH will use $350,000 of their initial $5.5 million grant from CVS Health to provide direct assistance to provider groups and practices to launch and expand telehealth services. Many of these providers are smaller independent practices and this work will allow them to better serve their patients under crisis-related constraints.

  • California Food is Medicine Coalition: This coalition of community-based nonprofit organizations provides medically tailored meals and support to low-income individuals facing a serious illness. CVS Health has provided $100,000 to the Coalition to fund immediate needs created by the pandemic.

  • California Paramedic Foundation: This paramedic-founded organization focuses on education, prevention and advancement within the EMS community. CVS Health has provided $15,000 to the organization, which will be directed to help digitize, automate and expand the Foundation’s online site to ensure California paramedics and EMTs have all available resources during COVID-19 medical disaster response.

“We are so grateful for the continued support that CVS Health offers to our organization, our Free and Charitable Clinics and in turn, our patients,” said Nicole Lamoureux, National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics President and CEO. “Our members in California are providing medically underserved people access to health care that is crucial especially during this pandemic to keep people healthy and out of the emergency departments, and this funding is vital to supporting their efforts.” 

“The grant 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.”

Working with California nonprofit organizations to direct grants toward pandemic-related issues is just one of the many ways CVS Health is helping with COVID-19 relief efforts. For more information about how CVS Health is responding to the pandemic, please visit the 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.

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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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