Decades ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of two Americas, where cities are spilt between serving as a community of opportunity for some while being one of prejudice for others.
As the year 2020 and recent events at our Nation’s Capital revealed, that dualism is still present today. However, I believe something is different from the time of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” and “the Other America” speeches. I am hopeful that today, we are on the precipice of real change — sparked in part by the death of George Floyd and the enduring pandemic, both of which shed light on the racial and social disparities that have negatively impacted the health of Black and Brown people for decades.
Bethesda Inc., through our bi3 grantmaking initiative, is on a mission to transform the health and well-being of all people in Greater Cincinnati. Achieving this requires many steps, including taking an organization to the edge of its comfort zone – its “growing edge.” I am grateful to my Board members who are leaning into hard conversations and increasing their understanding of systemic racism and implicit bias. As we travel on this journey, we remain dedicated to improving health equity and addressing health disparities.
We know, though, that we cannot achieve our mission alone. Thus, we champion and highlight new grants and continued efforts that are producing positive results that give us hope for a better tomorrow.
As we honor the great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I invite you to join me in pushing yourself to your “growing edge.” Read the book White Fragility, watch for future Racial Equity Matters (REM) Series dates and sign up for a session, and/or participate in Cincinnati’s National Day of Racial Healing.
As I recently shared through the Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s Mission Minute, if we really are going to take advantage of this moment in time to create the real change that is needed, I believe it has to start with the hearts and minds, and you have to start with you.
I still believe in Rev. Dr. King’s dream and an America where all people have equal opportunity to thrive is within our reach. How can I not when my children are counting on it?
President, Bethesda Inc.
Fueling equity initiatives to transform health
To transform the health and well-being of all people in Greater Cincinnati, we continue to prioritize and address health equity and the social barriers that impact health. Thus, we are partnering with TriHealth and community organizations to fuel this change in our community:
- For the second year, bi3 will serve as the presenting sponsor of Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s 2021 Racial Equity Matters Educational Series. We encourage you to watch for future dates and sign up for a session, joining us in a life-long journey of understanding.
- bi3 continues its support of TriHealth’s School-to-Work program, in partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools, to introduce a diverse set of students to careers in healthcare and ultimately increase minority leaders, physicians, and suppliers to better meet the needs of the diverse Cincinnati community.
- We are investing $662,500 in TriHealth to accelerate and scale efforts to attract and build a diverse and inclusive workforce, to deliver culturally competent care and reduce health disparities for Black and Brown people.
- bi3 is funding TriHealth’s participation in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Pursuing Equity Learning and Action Network, the only health system in Ohio to do so.
- We celebrate that more Black babies are alive today due to collective efforts being led by our partner Cradle Cincinnati. Hamilton County saw 14 fewer Black infant deaths in 2019—a 24% decrease compared to the previous five years. This is the fewest number of Black infant deaths on record in Hamilton County and comes as a collaboration of partners is focused squarely on improving a longstanding racial disparity in birth outcomes. This work, funded by bi3, the State of Ohio and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration is now expanding to 12 communities throughout Hamilton County. bi3 will continue to build upon our maternal/infant health work in 2021, creating more equitable health outcomes for moms and babes.
As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more available in our community, we are supporting efforts to encourage Black and Brown residents to receive the vaccine.
Join us — Ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2021
- Virtually attend Cincinnati’s National Day of Racial Healing.
- Participate in one of the many events being hosted by the Freedom Center
- Watch for future session dates and sign up for Racial Equity Matters
- For TriHealth employees, take a few minutes to watch MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech and write how that dream has touched your life on one of TriHealth’s cafe banners
For more updates on the work of bi3 and our funded partners, be sure to follow us on social media!