ReServe Is Impacting Health Care Disparities in Underserved Communities

ReServe continues to make a profound impact on the communities it serves. For the past two years, this impact has been most strongly felt in efforts to improve public health in New York City’s underserved communities.

ReServe recently was awarded a grant from the NYC Fund for Public Health, which facilitates partnerships between the public and private sector to develop, test, and launch new public health initiatives. The work supported by the grant addresses health care disparities in three underserved Bronx communities of color, where disparities in the social determinants of health that have long existed were heightened by COVID-19.

Under terms of the COVID-19 Disparity Grant, ReServe is engaged in wide-ranging in-person and virtual outreach. In-person outreach includes canvassing, tabling, listening sessions, educational events, and meetings with community leaders. Virtually, the team is reaching out to the communities through social media while also building a community member and partner organization distribution list that will distribute weekly updates and resource lists.

All outreach is designed to engage community members and provide health-related information. In keeping with The Fedcap Group’s commitment to amplification of services, the group also connects residents to both general resources and Fedcap Group/ReServe focus areas that include dementia care coaching. Single Stop was an essential component of the ReServe grant proposal and is being used to screen resident for benefits eligibility, and to provide tax preparation services and access to personal banking.

ReServists most often live and work within their communities, helping children learn, helping families manage the health care of their loved ones, helping fight poverty, and enhancing the capacity of government and nonprofits.

The COVID-19 Disparity Grant is not the only public health initiative undertaken by ReServe since the onset of the pandemic. In January 2021, ReServe was engaged by NYC Health + Hospitals, the nation’s largest public health care system, to provide a range of community engagement services to raise awareness of the then-new COVID-19 vaccine, and to encourage people to get vaccinated. Services provided by ReServe included scheduling COVID-19 tests, distributing personal protective equipment (PPE), and scheduling vaccination appointments. The impact and metrics for ReServe have been so strong that ReServe is one of two remaining agencies (of an original cohort of 7) who continue to provide staff for community outreach, a centralized PPE warehouse in Brooklyn, and five distribution sites throughout NYC.

The COVID-19 Disparities Grant team is comprised entirely of ReServists who are Bronx residents. ”We believe that people within the community actually have the best solutions for their communities; all we need to do is to provide public health expertise and linkage to resources,” said ReServe Director Ed Bolognini.

Measured impacts of this work include the number of individuals being vaccinated and receiving booster shots, the impact on users of the Single Stop benefits screener and other services, and the number of jobs gained by Bronx residents.

ReServe also received a grant from the CIGNA Foundation to help its Dementia Care Coach Program provide coaches to persons who lack economic wellbeing. Further underscoring The Fedcap Group’s commitment to amplification, ReServists working under the NYC Fund for Public Health grant in the Bronx always ask those in their community outreach efforts if they know anyone in need of Dementia Care Coaching services.

About 369 ReServists are currently working with NYC government agencies, and another 279 are working with nonprofit agencies. Many are engaged in public health initiatives, such as the COVID-19 Disparities Grant team, and other pandemic-related efforts.