Stop covid image with caretakers in full gear


The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the inequity of health systems around the world, disproportionately impacting people of color, the poor, and historically marginalized communities.

COVID-19’s toll has also forced a reckoning: we are all part of a global network, and until everyone is protected, no one is protected.

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PIH Answers the Call

At Partners In Health, we’ve been working alongside community members in hard-hit regions around the world for more than 30 years, seeking to halt deadly disease outbreaks -- from Ebola in West Africa to cholera in Haiti to HIV in Rwanda -- while reinforcing more just and robust public health systems that provide access to care for all.

When COVID-19 spread globally in early 2020, PIH responded to calls for assistance from health ministries, local administrators, and clinicians overwhelmed by this latest health emergency. Since then, we have worked with our partners to help fill crucial gaps, such as:

Strengthening contact tracing in Mexico

caregiver checking in patients for covid test

Assisting the government of Lesotho in establishing an oxygen plant 

Caretakers signing document for supplies

Training contact tracers in Navajo Nation

Navajo nation caregivers in ppe

Expanding contact tracing and connection of patients to resources across Massachusetts

Paul speaking in covid repsonse

Now, as we grapple with surging caseloads around the world, we are assisting with vaccine rollout plans to ensure the equitable distribution of new, lifesaving vaccines, guaranteeing affordability, and accessibility for all.

Join the global movement for a free, accessible COVID-19 vaccine

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A Focus on Equity

PIH’s equity-centered approach fuses the pragmatic with the idealistic: we help people in the most need by delivering the highest quality health care and support.

This focus on social justice guides our collaboration with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, whose officials asked us to help build a statewide contact tracing program to slow the virus’ spread.

Partnering with local health departments, contact tracers have made hundreds of thousands of calls reaching individuals who tested positive for Covid-19 and their contacts.

Advise cases and contacts on:







Connect them to:





Emotional support

Emotional Support

We’ve done this while ensuring care reaches those most in need and hardest hit by the virus, including communities of color, immigrants, and the working poor.

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New U.S. Effort

We believe the COVID-19 crisis offers an inflection point in the United States -- a moment to reimagine what kind of health system everyone needs and deserves, regardless of race, ethnicity, zip code, or income.

To that end, PIH has mobilized and deployed the US Public Health Accompaniment Unit to assist our partners in regions hardest hit by COVID-19. We are currently assisting 17 U.S. sites.

Chicago, IL (December 2020-)

We are supporting a consortium of health sector partners in Chicago to establish a Vaccine Corps of trusted messengers to help increase community awareness of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Cook County, IL (December 2020-)

With the Cook County Department of Public Health, we are supporting contact tracer training & vaccine distribution planning.

Fulton County, GA (June 2020-)

We are working with the Fulton County Board of Health and Community-Organized Relief Effort in case investigation, contact tracing, and resource coordination

Illinois (May 2020-)

With the Illinois Department of Public Health, we are sharing best practices for care resource coordination, scaling and refining contact tracing across the state, and equitable vaccine distribution.

Immokalee, FL (June 2020-)

In Florida, we are working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers – a network of migrant workers – to help coordinate community-level testing and social supports.

Montgomery, AL (June 2020-)

In Montgomery, we are supporting the Mayor’s Office to implement a Community Health Worker program, operationalize isolation support for the unhoused, and deploy vaccine communication campaigns.

Navajo Nation (May 2020-)

In partnership with Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE), we are training and organizing 375+ contact tracers across Navajo Nation. This team assists those in quarantine and isolation access resources like food, water, transport, or medicine as needed.

Newark, NJ (May 2020-)

We are partnering with the Newark Department of Health, Mayor’s Office, and Newark Alliance to provide strategic, technical, and operational assistance on the city’s COVID-19 response, including equitable vaccine rollout.

North Carolina (May 2020-)

In North Carolina, we are assisting with contact tracing, community health worker-based care resource coordination, and social supports initiatives with an additional focus on historically marginalized populations and farmworkers.

Ohio (May 2020-)

In Ohio, we are supporting the state Department of Health in advising their contact tracing and social support efforts.

Pima County, AZ (June 2020-)

In partnership with the Pima County Health Department, we support contact tracing, care coordination, and outreach to marginalized communities.

Toronto, Canada (June 2020-)

We are supporting an indigenous team in developing a testing, contact tracing, and support site for the 70,000+ urban indigenous living in Toronto.

New Orleans, LA (Jan 2021-)

In New Orleans, we are supporting enhanced resource coordination at the point of testing, as well as school-based testing initiatives.

Connecticut (Jan 2021-)

We are supporting the Connecticut Department of Health to develop a COVID-19 vaccine toolkit to help the public sector increase equitable vaccine access.

New Bedford, MA (Jan 2021-)

In New Bedford, we are supporting the local public health department with contact tracing and equitable vaccine distribution efforts.

US PHAU country map

Our 16 locations:

  • Chicago, IL (December 2020-)
  • The State of Illinois (May 2020-)
  • Cook County, IL (December 2020-)
  • Fulton County, GA (June 2020-)
  • Immokalee, FL (June 2020-)
  • Montgomery, AL (June 2020-)
  • Navajo Nation (May 2020-)
  • The State of Ohio (May 2020-)
  • Newark, NJ (May 2020-)
  • The State of North Carolina (May 2020-)
  • Pima County, AZ (June 2020-)
  • Toronto, Canada (June 2020-)
  • The State of Connecticut (Jan 2021-)
  • New Orleans, LA (Jan 2021-)
  • New Bedford, MA (Jan 2021-)

To bolster this approach, we’ve built a Resource Library for public health officials, policy makers, and community leaders to access a range of resources, new research, and data that capture PIH and partners’ lessons learned. And our Learning Collaborative is a growing community across 30 states who meet regularly to share and develop best practices in this fluid and fast-changing landscape.

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Expert Mercy

Led by medical expertise and compassion, we are accompanying our colleagues through one of the most dire public health challenges of our time. Yet we have good reason to remain hopeful; we’ve been here before and can see the path forward. Based on this experience, our COVID-19 response is built on four main pillars:

Response graphic

1. Protect patients, communities, and staff against COVID-19 through the initiation of safe testing, triage, and isolation at PIH-supported health facilities;

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2. Provide dignified, high-quality treatment for people with COVID-19, and all patients at PIH-supported facilities;

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3. Accompany public sector colleagues in their response at each care delivery site and advocate for long-term health systems funding globally and equitable vaccine distribution;

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4. Mobilize strong contact tracing systems with local partners or via PIH’s network of skilled community health workers.

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More On PIH’s COVID Response