Bristol Myers Squibb doles out nearly $8M in health equity grants

Gabrielle Saulsbery//February 8, 2022

Bristol Myers Squibb doles out nearly $8M in health equity grants

Gabrielle Saulsbery//February 8, 2022

Bristol Myers Squibb gave $7.965 million in health equity grants to 24 U.S. nonprofit organizations that aim to improve access and quality care to medically underserved patients needing oncology, cardiology, immunology and hematology therapies, the company announced Feb. 8.

The funding will boost community outreach and education; increase patient support and care coordination services; and support diversity, cultural competency and collaboration among community health workers and patient navigators in underserved communities.

To date, Bristol Myers Squibb reports that its total support in addressing health disparities since 2020 is just over $39 million.

“Through our Health Equity Commitments grants and partnerships, Bristol Myers Squibb is focused on scaling what works in removing barriers that patients may face when accessing care,” said Adam Lenkowsky, senior vice president, general manager of U.S. Cardiovascular, Immunology and Oncology, Bristol Myers Squibb, in a prepared statement. “We know that the complexities of specialty care bring unique challenges that community health workers and patient navigators can help solve. They are trusted members of their communities, have deep knowledge of health systems and are vital to medically underserved patients receiving high quality care, including access to medical innovations and clinical trials.”

The grants are part of Bristol Myers Squibb’s D&I and Health Equity Commitments, a $150 million, five-year investment launched in 2020 aimed at addressing health disparities, increasing clinical trial diversity, expanding supplier diversity, increasing workforce representation, and enhancing employee giving in support of social justice organizations.

The 24 grantees from this new round include patient advocacy, community-based and faith-based organizations, medical societies, and nonprofit health care institutions that together serve a range of communities nationwide.

In Houston and El Paso, Texas; Orlando, Fla.; Chicago and Los Angeles, nonprofit Dia de la Mujer Latina will expand the role of Promotoras de Salud in lung cancer prevention, screening and care.

In North Dakota, nonprofit CommonSpirit’s Total Health community health workers will focus on the social determinants of health and connect rural patients and community members to non-medical services including housing and healthy nutrition.

Nonprofit The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum will collaborate with 20 community partners in 16 different states to train and implement community health worker and patient navigator programs for Asian patients facing cancer, cardiovascular and immunological issues; and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation will implement a “train the trainer” pilot program to strengthen its Patient Navigation Center for African American patients.

Here in New Jersey, Crossroads4Hope will work with community advocates to address the psychosocial needs of cancer patients in vulnerable communities.

In 2021, Bristol Myers Squibb awarded $11 million in health equity grants that addressed disease awareness and education, patient supportive services, access to care, diversity in clinical trials, diversity in the health care and biomedical research workforce, health disparities research and health equity policy advancement.