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Dr. Khaldun will lead the strategy to advance health equity for patients, members, providers, customers, and communities, having served as the Chief Medical Executive for the State of Michigan and Chief Deputy Director for Health in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, where she was responsible for public health and aging programs, Medicaid and behavioral health. She led Michigan’s COVID-19 response and is credited for Michigan’s early identification of and strategy to address disparities in COVID-19 outcomes.
Reaching out to help prevent suicide will be a lot simpler – starting July 16th – when anyone across the country can just dial “988” to receive lifesaving counsel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And Melissa takes us inside the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center, the nation’s first, which helped make this happen. Cara McNulty, President of Behavioral Health and Mental Wellbeing for CVS Health Aetna, also discusses collaborating with Didi Hirsch as part of the company’s own initiative to reduce suicide attempts among members 20% by 2025. And we also hear from Ann Taylor, who volunteers for Didi Hirsch, and is herself a suicide attempt survivor.
A four-story, 36-unit apartment complex that will provide affordable housing is going to be built in the booming Five Points neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. And Melissa tracks down the story behind Charity’s House, as it will be called -- tracing it back to Thomas “Pistol Pete” Albright, a star pitcher in the Negro Leagues.
A New Normal?

A New Normal?

2022-04-2140:391

As mandates are being lifted across the country after over two years of pandemic waves, it feels like we’re all coming back to life again. But how do we go about finding a new normal? And what exactly does that mean? Melissa speaks with those who are living it, in real time - in New York City. People who make New York a place others flock to, as well as a place millions call home: Tom Birchard from Veselka, Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly from the Irish Repertory Theatre, and Maria Nazzoli from Pearl Oyster Bar.
If suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America, why aren’t more people talking openly about it? Melissa does just that, with staff members of the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center, the first of its kind in the U.S. We also hear from Cara McNulty, President of Behavioral Health and Mental Wellbeing for CVS Health Aetna, who discusses collaborating with Didi Hirsch as part of the company’s own initiative to reduce suicide attempts among members 20% by 2025. And Ann Taylor, who volunteers for Didi Hirsch, and is herself a suicide attempt survivor.
Melissa speaks with Dr. Nitin Gupta, the founder & CEO of Rivertowns Pediatrics in New York, about protecting his community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as his own health challenges. He says, “I mirrored [my practice] after the pediatrician I had. He was always available for his patients. If I got sick, I saw him that day.” Dr. Gupta also disputes the common perception that COVID-19 does not affect kids.
While 2021 has certainly been a rollercoaster year, Melissa finds hope throughout this past year’s coverage on the podcast. She shares some of her favorite moments where people across the country have been galvanized to connect in new ways, and to help others, all the more!
The First Wave

The First Wave

2021-12-0830:171

What went on inside hospitals during the height of the pandemic? Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman had exclusive access to one of New York’s largest and hardest-hit medical centers for his moving documentary, The First Wave. Melissa speaks with him, as well as subjects Dr. Nathalie Dougé and physical therapist Karl Arabian for an intimate portrait of courage in the face of death and disease, and the toll that takes.
Cory Greenberg had a promising career as a professional bicycle racer ahead of him when he was confronted with inflammatory bowel disease, and suddenly didn’t know if he’d ever be able to ride a bike again, much less compete. Melissa speaks with Cory about his experiences, and founding Ride4IBD, as well as with his Mom, Randi, and Emily Pefanis, Vice President of Specialty Operations at CVS Health — which played a big role in Cory’s recovery.
COVID-19 may have exposed the cracks in our social networks, but an organization called Papa has been filling in — especially for those who are older and isolated. It’s an on-demand service to provide companionship and assistance to those who need it. In this Healthy Communities News podcast episode, host Melissa Eagan speaks with Andrew Parker, Papa founder and CEO in Miami, FL, as well as Papa Pal, Denise Martincic, and her Papa, Miss Deborah Allen, Medicare beneficiary in Waterford, MI.
Now that a new Workforce and Innovation Talent Center (or WITC) has opened in the Hill District community of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, host Melissa Eagan speaks with some of those who will make change real, moving forward. Hear from the WITC manager, Sean Ware, a communications and marketing intern already onsite named Julian McGee, and Brett Wormsley, Program Manager at Ebenezer Outreach Ministries and Director of Technology, Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Melissa speaks with John White, Senior Advisor, Workforce Initiatives for CVS Health, and Vincent Campbell, Senior Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church about the WITC launching in Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District, where the average income is currently between $14,000 and $17,000 a year. As Pastor Campbell says, “If there's a thousand people who need help, and you help one, obviously that's impactful to that one person. But then you have to look 999 people in their face who you couldn't help. What CVS [Health] has done is said that ... that other 999 can now come and get help.”
Melissa speaks with Joel Helle, Vice President of Physician Services about the feasibility of reaching the CDC’s goal of decreasing HIV infections 90% by 2030. She speaks to Marco Benjamin, National Liaison, HIV/Sexual Health at CVS Health, and Jen Laws, a CDC HIV Ambassador and public health policy consultant, who are both HIV positive and working from the ground up to end the HIV epidemic, now 40 years on.
We speak with Stephen Fontz, CVS District Leader, as well asBishop Donte Hickman from the South Baptist Church, which has stood firm against what he calls, “the suburban flight and the urban blight.” He’s been dealing with vaccination hesitancy in his own special way. By way of example, we also hear from one of Pastor Hickman’s congregants, Sonia Sobel, who did change her mind about being vaccinated.
In this episode of Healthy Communities News, we speak in even greater detail with Randy Phelps, as well as Dr. Jonathan Wiesen, a pulmonary physician and critical care specialist who runs COVID-19 emergency rooms. And psychiatrist Dr. Laura Ebner, who had already been volunteering for Give an Hour for years, but couldn’t resist helping these new, often neglected heroes, “If [COVID-19] has taught us anything, it’s that we all have to practice self-care, and that mental health affects us all.”
People of color represent more than 25 percent of the total U.S. population, but only 10 percent of the country’s health care professionals. A new scholarship funded by the CVS Health Foundation and managed by the United Negro College Fund, Inc. (UNCF) hopes to improve that balance. Healthy Communities News spoke to those who helped launch the effort and students who rely on scholarships to help them complete their education.
With two COVID-19 vaccines now authorized by the FDA for emergency use, we’ve stepped up to help administer vaccinations across the country. So, for our first 2021 podcast, we’re taking you behind-the-scenes with Dr. Jocelyn Shrum, one of the CVS pharmacists responsible for training people across the country who make it all work. We speak with her the day after she and her team first administered vaccines in Nashville, Tennessee, where she gets vaccinated herself. Then we check in with Jewel Statham, a nursing assistant, and Julian Holland, a resident at Heartland Promedica in Ohio — who just got vaccinated as well. May listening make you as hopeful for the year ahead as they are.
As we look back on 2020, we’ll take you from Atlanta’s Westside, where its civil rights history still inspires today’s movements; to Boston, where a gutsy nonprofit that’s been using food as medicine for 30 years has reinvented itself in the face of the coronavirus. As well as Miami-Dade County where Branches is equipping students in new ways to keep learning. And downtown Houston, Texas, where the San José Clinic seems to have been preparing for a healthcare crisis just like the one we find ourselves in, since 1922.
In this episode, we head to Houston to learn about the integral role this small clinic has been playing in the community for almost a century. When the pandemic hit, the staff quickly adapted to ensure their patients could continue to access the care they needed.
The coronavirus has touched all of our lives in one way or another. Children, in particular, are in an ongoing state of flux. Many classes in schools and colleges across the country have been upended. We did find an oasis in South Florida where an organization called Branches has been working diligently for over 25 years to serve the neighborhood’s youth and their families.For the podcast (below) we spoke with executive director Brent McLaughlin and Kim Torres, Director of Student Services, and Branches partner Rosa Santiago — as well as students Kelson Baptiste, Vicshonda “Vicky” Bellany, and Melvin Amaya.Aetna Better Health®, a Medicaid managed care plan in Florida, has a long-standing relationship with Branches as a community partner.
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