person selects fruit from the open air market
Immakolee, United States: Selecting fruit at the community food distribution center. | Photo by Caitlin Kleiboer

United States

In the United States, national systems and policies treat health as a commodity and a privilege rather than a human right, resulting in persistently worse health outcomes for people of color and the poor. While health care is abundant and heavily resourced, U.S. health systems are built to maximize the delivery of profitable health care rather than to sustain the health and well-being of communities. As COVID-19 spread across the U.S., the devastating consequences of an unjust health system became even more apparent — but it also created an opportunity to drive transformative change.

We are striving to realize the right to health in the U.S. by working shoulder-to-shoulder with public health departments and community organizations to advance their long-term visions for healthier communities and more just systems. When PIH launched its United States COVID-19 response in spring 2020 through the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative, we called upon our experience fighting epidemics and strengthening public health systems around the world.

From strengthening contact tracing, testing, and social support programs, to establishing vaccine rollout plans centered on equity and access, we worked side-by-side with our partners across the country to deploy a robust public health response tailored to the unique needs of each community. Now, we’re expanding our work to focus on strengthening public and community health systems for the long-term.

Our Impact

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83,000+ households connected to material and social supports

funding leveraged for local partners

$86.2M in funding leveraged for local partners to deliver on shared goals and programming

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15 million individuals served through seven core partnership sites

From COVID-19 Emergency Response to Building Resilient Community Health System

Since May of 2020, we have trained and scaled up contact tracing teams that connected patients and families to vital resources like food and housing; accompanied and advised public health and community partners during the acute phases of the pandemic; supported learning with up-to-date public health guidance, protocols and research made available to peer organizations and community leaders throughout the country; and urged lawmakers in the top ranks of government to adopt policies that lead to stronger public health systems that meet the needs of underserved, neglected communities. Through it all, we have helped unite a network of public health professionals, policymakers, community leaders, health workers, and donors.

As we move from emergency response to rebuilding health and social systems across the country, we’re accompanying visionary public health and community partners working to transform health in the United States. We support local health departments, health providers, elected officials, and community leaders in Alabama; Chicago, Illinois; Immokalee, Florida; Newark, New Jersey; New Bedford, Massachusetts; North Carolina; and Pima County, Arizona to ensure access to quality, comprehensive care, but also to food, transportation, and housing—all necessary components of good health.

We operate as thought partners and advisors, helping to set clear health and racial equity agendas, while providing technical advising and operational support to deliver on those commitments. We capture learnings from our experience on-the-ground to mobilize funding, advance policy change at the local, state and federal levels, and lay the groundwork for stronger community health systems across the country.

Our focus areas include:

  • Strengthening public health departments for the future
  • Investing in community health workers as a core pillar of public health
  • Building collaborative Infrastructure that serves as the cornerstone of a more resilient health system

Together with our partners, we are working to ensure that all systems in the U.S.––but especially health systems––are designed by and for the communities they serve.

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Learn more about PIH-US, by visiting their website:

PIH United States

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Please send donations to: Partners In Health, PO Box 996, Frederick, MD 21705-9942