The grim stories of health inequities stemming from COVID-19 emerge on a daily basis. It is increasingly clear that members of underserved and under-resourced communities are at even greater risk. In early April, the Chicago Tribune presented the sobering statistics: nearly 68% of the city’s deaths have involved African Americans (who make up only about 30% of Chicago’s total population)—a reflection of the reality that economically disadvantaged communities have faced for generations.1
What can healthcare providers domestically and throughout the world do in their own cities and villages? What can our hospitals do in the face of such demand? What can healthcare manufacturers and suppliers do to meet these needs? It will take a global health effort to address these challenges, and our goal at Medline is to commit to recognizing the social determinants of health and, through our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, promote healthcare so that resources go directly to providing access for everyone.
Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) are the economic and social conditions that influence individual and group differences in health status. SDoH are the primary drivers of health outcomes—length of life and quality of life. They disproportionately have a negative impact on the poorest areas of society. Health factors include:
- Health behaviors—tobacco use, diet, exercise, alcohol use, drug use, sexual activity
- Clinical care—access to care, quality of care
- Social and economic factors—education, employment, income, family and social support, community safety
- Physical environment—air quality, water quality, housing, transit
Medline seeks to assist non-profit organizations that are providing access to health equity and measurable positive health and results-focused outcomes, including community-centered solutions, evidence-based solutions and efforts that bring immediate impact.
Through collaboration with community experts to understand challenges and concerns, we can serve under-resourced communities by providing the means to address access to healthy food, food insecurity, population health, economic empowerment and access to healthcare. We call on all of our community partners to address the healthcare-related challenges that are magnified during COVID-19 by focusing on initiatives that eliminate health inequity.
Good social responsibility starts at home. It may sound trite, but in order to give outwards, the focus inward—on employee safety and well-being—must be a top priority. Medline is working harder than ever to ensure our thousands of employees around the world are safe and productive, especially considering the role of our essential employees in the manufacturing and supply sectors. For an overview of how we are supporting our employees, read more here.
Innovation, sustainability, and increased manufacturing must be at the core of our efforts as a medical manufacturer and supplier. From investing in increased airfreight shipments for PPE to innovations in mask decontamination to redeploying manufacturing to ramp critical production, Medline is working to ensure access and delivery of medical supplies to support doctors and nurses on the frontlines of the pandemic. We share your sense of urgency to help patients and keep healthcare workers safe. In addition, we believe that providing critical insights into sustainable solutions such as saving linens and scrubs and renewing masks, gowns, and other PPE, not only helps our healthcare partners and the health of the supply chain, but ultimately serves to preserve a healthy planet.
Beyond our employees and our customers, community contributions truly matter. Our charitable gifts up to this point can be seen in this list of contributions to the following organizations:
United Way of Lake County COVID 19 Community Response Fund
- On Friday, March 27 Medline committed $25K to support the UWLC COVID-19 Community Response Fund. The donation will support the agencies that ensure access to critical needs in this time of crisis, including emergency food assistance, rental and stable housing assistance, utility assistance, access to health care, and the many unforeseeable needs that are beginning to arise and are being identified through the 211 information and referral helpline. For more information click here.
Waukegan Public Schools, District 60
- Immediately after Illinois was issued a stay-at-home order, Medline made a donation to the Waukegan, IL, School District 60 to offset printing costs during their initial transition to remote learning. At the time, the district had no online learning program and needed assistance printing lesson plans for all district-wide students.
- Medline provided $5,000 to Beacon Place to ensure that:
- 300 individual children and adults will be supported with 3,000 lbs. of shelf stable food
- 1,500 lbs. of fresh produce are available for approximately 480 family meals
Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois
- Medline is in the process of donating $5,000 to Meals on Wheels Northeastern Illinois. The donation will provide 588 meals for homebound elderly and individuals with disabilities.
For updates on our ongoing contributions, please subscribe now for the COVID-19 Resource Center Newsletter.
Medline is committed to community impact efforts that promote good health for all people. We believe that by investing human and financial resources to address prevalent healthcare concerns and challenges throughout this crisis and beyond, we can stimulate health equity and improve the well-being of a community. We encourage other companies and individuals to do the same.