CommonSpirit Health Foundation Spotlight

Addressing COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Through Technology and Humankindness

CommonSpirit Health and Deloitte Health Equity Institute collaborate to help address health inequities surfaced by the pandemic

CHICAGO, IL (August 31, 2021) -- As health systems continue to respond to COVID-19 and adapt to new realities and needs surfaced by the pandemic, CommonSpirit Health, thanks to an investment from the Deloitte Health Equity Institute, has developed a program to respond to vaccine hesitancy and to help provide access to vaccines in some of the most vulnerable communities.

With incidences of the Delta variant on the rise, the new COVID-19 vaccine outreach program developed by the health system is using technology to engage rural communities on the importance of getting vaccinated and to help remove barriers that prevent people from receiving the vaccine.

This approach was developed in response to troubling studies that show certain populations have been devastated by COVID-19 and that those same communities are now less likely to have access to the vaccine.

Research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that people aged 50 to 64 years old are four times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 than those who are 18 to 29 years old. African-American, Hispanic, Latino, American Indian and Alaska Native persons also have significantly higher rates of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Similarly, adults with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, sickle cell, chronic kidney disease and tobacco use are all at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, and rates of these conditions are much higher in racially and ethnically diverse communities.

“Intentional outreach that educates about vaccine safety and efficacy and also mitigates barriers to receiving the vaccine is one step toward addressing these issues of inequity and access,” says Dr. Alisahah Jackson, system vice president of innovation and policy for CommonSpirit Population Health. “We are thrilled to collaborate with other leading organizations to work on providing COVID-19 vaccines to all of our communities, especially our vulnerable populations.”

“Deloitte is deeply committed to reducing health inequities. Therefore, we are working with collaborators like CommonSpirit Health to help address barriers to care for underserved communities. This vaccine outreach program serves to meaningfully further our mission,” says Dr. Kulleni Gebreyes, executive director of the Deloitte Health Equity Institute.

Now underway, the program will engage nearly 50,000 patients over a nine-month period this year in California’s Central Coast and the areas of Arkansas served by CommonSpirit. Through an outreach tool developed in partnership with Docent Health, part of GetWellNetwork, patients will receive a text message that they are eligible for the vaccine. They can then sign up for the vaccine via the link provided. In the event that the patient cannot navigate registering on their own or other barriers arise (such as digital literacy, transportation access or being home-bound) the patient engagement tool connects patients to a community navigator to help address these barriers directly.

CommonSpirit will be tracking outcomes — how many patients were reached, the types of barriers that were addressed, and the number of vaccines administered as a result of the program — to determine its effectiveness and to help shape how it delivers outreach to rural communities in the future.

Diaz Dixon, vice president of CommonSpirit Health Foundation, says collaborations like this are important to communities because they accelerate action while showing tangible commitment to building better health.

“CommonSpirit Health Foundation is focused solely on supporting programs that advance our work to address health equity. By working together with our CommonSpirit clinical leaders and the Deloitte’s Health Equity Institute, the foundation is truly helping to shape the future of so many of our communities in need,” says Dixon.

About CommonSpirit Health
CommonSpirit Health is a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 by Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. CommonSpirit is committed to creating healthier communities, delivering exceptional patient care, and ensuring every person has access to quality health care. With its national office in Chicago and a team of approximately 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit Health operates 140 hospitals and more than 1,000 care sites across 21 states. Learn more at

About CommonSpirit Health Foundation
CommonSpirit Health Foundation is focused on making the promise of health equity a reality across the country — through funding pioneering programs that ensure greater access, create community partnerships, and advocate for the underserved and most vulnerable. The foundation seeks investments and donations from multiple funding sources — federal, state, private foundations, corporate foundations and individuals — to support programs and initiatives that enable all people to be healthy and safe.

About the Deloitte Health Equity Institute
Recognizing the imperative for immediate and sustained effort, and grounded in Deloitte’s acknowledgement of racism as a public health crisis, Deloitte established the Deloitte Health Equity Institute (DHEI) in Spring 2021. DHEI is dedicated to creating public good through data-driven pro bono services, philanthropy and research. DHEI builds on Deloitte’s commitment to advance health equity, informed by work with clients, a decade of impact made by our Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, and our perspective on how life sciences and health care organizations can activate health equity.

The DHEI reinforces Deloitte’s purpose of making a positive, enduring impact that matters. By collaborating with local and national organizations, DHEI is a catalyst, helping advance health equity at scale. Each of our initiatives aims to help achieve their full potential in all aspects of health and well-being, building a more equitable society for all.

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