June 29, 2021

RI Delegation Secures $2 Million to Reduce Health Inequality Among Black and Latino Communities

Funding for Providence and the Rhode Island Public Health Institute will enhance COVID-19 mitigation measures in minority communities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced that the City of Providence and the Rhode Island Public Health Institute (RIPHI) will be receiving more than $2 million through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health to develop, implement, and evaluate COVID-19 mitigation measures tailored towards Black and Latino communities in Rhode Island.

People of color make up more than half of Providence’s total population, making the city one of the most diverse in Rhode Island. Unfortunately, the disparities in health outcomes between Providence’s white and non-white communities are stark, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made them worse. This critical funding will enable Providence and RIPHI to work alongside community members and key stakeholders to combat the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on Black and Latino Rhode Islanders.

“COVID-19 has disproportionately affected communities of color, particularly Black and Latino residents. This new grant will improve medical care and expand access to health support for minority communities,” said Senator Reed. “It’s important to ensure COVID-19 mitigation assistance and resources are being targeted to areas of greatest need and reaching the families that are most impacted. In addition to health resources, we must also drive recovery dollars to disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities and continue addressing deep-rooted health and economic disparities.”

“COVID-19 has taken an outsized toll on Black and Brown Americans, and cast a harsh light on the inequities in our public health system,” said Senator Whitehouse. “With input from Rhode Island’s minority communities, this funding can help close the troubling public health gaps affecting people of color and strengthen our state’s COVID-19 response.”

“Even before the pandemic, our Black and Brown neighbors suffered disproportionately worse health outcomes than white Rhode Islanders. COVID-19 only exacerbated those disparities,” said Rep. Langevin. “Together with my colleagues, I’m proud to deliver this federal funding so that more Rhode Islanders can access the quality health care they deserve. Although we won’t eliminate inequality overnight, I’m confident that this grant will go a long way towards improving health outcomes for Rhode Island’s Black and Latino communities.”

“COVID-19 revealed deep disparities in access to affordable health care,” said Rep. Cicilline. “The money we are announcing today will help close the care gap and ensure more Black and Latino Rhode Islanders can get the treatment they need.”

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