On October 7, Walgreens announced that they continue to fight with health disparities in Chicago’s underserved communities with the new Walgreens Chicago initiatives.
Chicago is a hometown for Walgreens, and the company undertook to address health disparities and improve outcomes, through a number of community-focused pharmacy and healthcare initiatives, beginning in the city’s underserved neighborhoods on the south side.
“Improving the health and well-being of the communities we serve guides everything we do, and we know there is great need, as well as opportunity, to assist the patients we serve on their journey to better health,” said John Standley, Walgreens president. “By learning more about the particular health needs in these areas and tailoring our pharmacy services to help address them, we can continue to make an impact as part of our commitment to Chicago, and with pharmacists our customers know and trust.”
$35 Million Investment Into New Walgreens Chicago initiatives
One of the main plan, to improve the situation with healthcare services were $35 million Walgreens invested this summer to re-open Chicago stores that had been damaged, to best serve the needs of these communities and help ensure continuous pharmacy services at a critical time.
Walgreens reached out with city leaders and community organizations, and now, in collaboration they are working to expand access to affordable care and educational outreach to further support the city of Chicago’s health equity objectives.
“One of the most crucial steps in breaking down health disparities is making sure that people have a trusted place in their communities to receive the care and treatment they need. For many, those places are their local pharmacies,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “By working closely with community partners like Walgreens, we can help ensure that essential pharmacy services remain available to the communities that rely on them the most, improve and provide education on these services, and get that much closer to closing health gaps for our most vulnerable neighborhoods once and for all.”
Walgreens health service will be working at Chatham on the south side of the city. According to the statistics that the company announced, residents in these communities experience a higher prevalence of acute and chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, pneumonia and flu.
- Diabetes outreach: Pharmacists are prioritizing high-touch consultations for those living with diabetes to personalize solutions, address any barriers to taking medications and making recommendations for health screenings and immunizations. Early results from the efforts indicate improved medication adherence for those who are receiving additional consultations and support.
- Pediatric asthma outreach and education: Given the high prevalence of pediatric asthma in Chicago, pharmacists are conducting outreach to parents and guardians of children with asthma to provide education on the importance and proper use of asthma medications, review side effects, discuss asthma triggers and provide action plans in collaboration with health care providers, as needed.
- Flu clinics: Walgreens has provided flu shots at no cost through initiatives with health insurers, the Illinois Department of Public Health, local community groups and churches in Little Village, Chatham, Gresham, Englewood, Bronzeville, Austin and Roseland.
- Health screenings: For more than 12 years, Walgreens has sponsored the First Ladies Health Initiative, working with African American church leaders and pastors’ wives to provide thousands of free health screenings including blood pressure, blood glucose, HIV screenings and immunizations.
- Chronic disease: Walgreens partners with the American Heart Association Chicago chapter to support the nonprofit’s efforts to eliminate health disparities and the life expectancy gap between Chicago neighborhoods. The initiative has also helped to train more than 500,000 local residents in CPR.
- Affordable access to medications: Walgreens has continued to help ensure patients have affordable access to the medications they need, through the expansion of the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club, which provides savings of up to 80 percent off for over 8,000 medicines to members.
- “These efforts build on the COVID-19 response from Walgreens pharmacy teams that have helped those requiring high-touch care, such as seniors and patients with complex and chronic conditions. Since the onset of the pandemic earlier this year, Walgreens has reached out to thousands of patients to provide individualized support and solutions. And as the company continues to expand COVID-19 testing sites and capacity, Walgreens has prioritized placement of testing sites in underserved areas, which have been the hardest hit by the pandemic,” – the company said.