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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Eskenazi Health announces health equity initiative to increase life expectancy

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Eskenazi Health announced a $60 million initiative to work collaboratively with community members and organizations to improve life expectancy and advance health equity throughout Indianapolis. The campaign, known as Beyond Barrier, supports Eskenazi’s “longstanding commitment” to address social drivers that impact the health and well-being of residents in Marion County. 

The campaign will provide funding to expand existing programs and access to services, while also establishing three “health equity zones” or geographic areas where multiple organizations work to address long-term social determinants of health, including racial equity and economic mobility, to increase life expectancy for neighborhood residents. 

By 2025, three health equity zones will be implemented at three locations throughout Indianapolis: Eskenazi Health Center West 38th Street – International Marketplace, Eskenazi Health Center East 38th Street – Northeast Corridor and Eskenazi Health Center Grassy Creek – Far Eastside. 

“Health equity zones are bringing community organizations like CAFÉ and Eskenazi Health together with neighborhood residents to create health equity and break down systemic barriers affecting the community’s health and well-being,” said Kendra Nowell, chief executive officer at Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFÉ) in a press release.  

The goal is to leverage Eskenazi Health’s strengths and partnerships through a first-of-its-kind integrated and sustainable model to create life expectancy equity for everyone in Indianapolis. 

In addition to establishing health equity zones, the campaign will allow Eskenzi to leverage existing resources and partnerships to improve life expectancy. 

“Many people in our community experience health disparities as a result of inequitable access to health care and human service resources,” said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director and chief medical officer of the Marion County Public Health Department in a press release. “We need to continually ask about the health equity challenges our clients face and how we are addressing these challenges as a department, a school of medicine, an organization, public health system, and in the community at large. Everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy, and it is our responsibility to offer this.”

As the campaign continues to expand additional health equity zones will be identified and tested with strategies “tailored to address the evolving needs of neighborhoods and communities across Marion County.” 

Ultimately, the goal is to create a balanced and equitable healthcare landscape for all. 

“Everyone deserves great health and a long, happy life. It doesn’t matter where you work, where you live, your race, sex or religion; if you do it in Marion County, Eskenazi Health and Eskenazi Health Foundation are united in creating lasting health equity for all,” said Sharon Barner, vice president and chief administrative officer at Cummins and Eskenazi Health Foundation board member. “This current environment wasn’t created overnight, and it won’t be fixed that quickly either, but we are here to support tangible, fundamental change that will improve the quality of life for everyone, especially our most vulnerable residents.”

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