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Bread of Life, Inc. teams up with the Quest Diagnostics Foundation and local community partners to improve access to healthcare and create job opportunities for underserved communities

10/28/22

Healthy Houston Collective includes a multipronged approach to addressing key disparities in the Houston area

HOUSTON, Oct. 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Bread of Life, Inc. announced the launch of the Healthy Houston Collective program, in partnership with the Quest Diagnostics Foundation, to improve access to affordable healthcare in underserved communities and reduce health disparities in Houston for more than 9,000 people.

"We are celebrating 30 years of service to this community and the only way we have been able to do this work is through partnerships like the private public collaboration with the Quest Foundation we are celebrating today," said Senior Pastor Rudy Rasmus, St. John's United Methodist Church & Executive Director, Bread of Life, Inc. "We are fighting for health equity. Every month we help thousands of families with food insecurities who continue to need our support and this initiative will help expand the opportunities for health equity in our city."

Bread of Life, Inc. (BOL), is a non-profit organization formed by St. John's Church in Houston. BOL provides a full spectrum of services and addresses inequities impacting individuals and families living in Houston and the surrounding area. BOL was awarded a $3.8 million-dollar grant from the Quest Diagnostics Foundation as part of Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE), a multi-year initiative of Quest Diagnostics and the Quest Foundation focused on providing a combination of donated testing services, education programs, and funding to support initiatives to close the gap in healthcare disparities in underserved communities across the U.S.

"The Quest Foundation is proud to announce the Bread of Life Health Houston Collective, one of our largest commitments to date through our Quest for Health Equity initiative," said Michael Prevoznik, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Co-Executive Sponsor of Q4HE, Quest Diagnostics. "At Quest we are fond of saying that health care is a team sport. We know that no one entity alone will be able to close the gaps in health care and we are committed to working together to help address critical health issues for underserved communities in Houston."

Funds will support the BOL Healthy Houston Collective, which is a multi-year initiative focused on addressing healthcare disparities in underserved communities in Houston and Harris County through four program areas: the Community Care Program, the Bread of Life Academy and Eco-Life Staffing, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) collaborations, and the Community Based Organization (CBO) Regranting Program.

"The Healthy Houston Collective will help underserved Houston communities bridge the gap between the residents and the health care system that so often leaves the community behind," said Pastor Yvette Tarrant, CEO, Bread of Life, Inc. "We are currently in a public health crisis and I'm happy and hopeful to be joining forces with Quest to bring health services, training for healthcare workers, testing and job opportunities to under-resourced communities."

The Community Care Program utilizes certified Community Health Workers who live within underserved communities to help connect their neighbors to the healthcare system. While they are not doctors or healthcare professionals, they serve as powerful advocates. The Community Health Workers will work with and empower individuals by addressing social determinant barriers and support with long-term health gains through health education and connections to services.

Through the Community Care Program, BOL is collaborating with the Patient Care Intervention Center, a nonprofit organization that leverages technology, health data sharing, and public health best practices to empower patients and providers to achieve enduring health outcomes and financial sustainability. This data driven approach will be used to develop specific strategies to improve patients' outcomes.

"Seventy percent of our health is influenced by things we are not always aware of; things like education, employment, economic stability and access," said Dr. Sarah Simmons, Director of Health Outcomes, Bread of Life, Inc. "The Healthy Houston Collective is our solution to make an impact in our community, through strong community partnerships we will be able to collaborate to utilize the great resources that already exist in Houston and make them available to the people who need them."

In conjunction with the University of Houston Community Health Worker Initiative, the Bread of Life Academy for health careers provides training for phlebotomists and community health workers. This affords graduates stable employment opportunities and supports the local healthcare system needs. These graduates will receive additional support from the community partner Community Care Cooperative to offer ownership and economic mobility opportunities. Quest has also paved the way for certified Community Health Workers to help supplement 75 Quest locations with staffing for either short-term or long-term employment opportunities. 

The BOL Healthy Houston Collective includes an FQHC collaboration with charity clinics to provide greater access to quality healthcare. By adding a larger and more diverse network of FQHC partners, the BOL Community Health Workers will be able to support patient social needs to help improve health engagement and outcomes.

In response to providing grassroots community-based programs that align with the larger community needs, the BOL Healthy Houston Collective is also adding a CBO Regranting Program to support nutrition and behavioral health services. According to the Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research, more than 500,000 Houstonians live in food deserts, or low-income areas where the nearest grocery store in an urban area is more than a mile away. One of the CBO Regrants that will target senior citizens facing this issue is a partnership with Lucille's 1913. Lucille's 1913 operates as a non-profit entity, and their "Better Measure Program" will provide nutritious meals to 100 homebound seniors during a 90-day period. Community health workers along with other health professionals will visit the homes of those in the program to identify barriers, conduct diagnostic tests and collect data to gauge the effectiveness of the program.

"We are proud to be a part of this important initiative and have the opportunity to provide nutritious meals for homebound seniors to help improve their health," said Dr. Robertine Jefferson, CEO, Lucille's 1913. "Our program includes delivering culturally relevant meals to best support diverse communities in a way that recognizes their backgrounds and empowers them to choose healthy options that align with their traditions and cultural preferences." 

The BOL Healthy Houston Collective is partnering with the following professional entities supporting the four areas of this program: University of Houston Community Health Worker Initiative; Professional Healthcare Education Services; Eco-Life Staffing; Avenue 360 Health and Wellness (FQHC); Vecino Health Center; Christ Clinic; Lucille's 1913; and the Community Care Cooperative.

About Healthy Houston Collective, A Project of Bread of Life, Inc.

St. John's Church was established in 1992 under the leadership of Pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus with a simple mission to serve hot nutritious meals to homeless men and women in the downtown Houston area. In 1994, the church formed the Bread of Life, Inc. (BOL), a non-profit organization that provides a full spectrum of services and addresses inequities impacting individuals and families living in Houston and the surrounding area. Nearly 30 years later, BOL is still focused on supporting underserved communities and restoring hope in Houston through its program areas. BOL has had a huge impact in the Bayou City in the expanse of homelessness, hunger, disaster relief, as well as boosting health outcomes and continues to help create an improved quality of life for the people of Houston. Bread Of Life, Inc. (breadoflifeinc.org)

About Quest for Health Equity

Quest for Health Equity is an initiative of Quest Diagnostics and the Quest Diagnostics Foundation focused on providing resources, funding, testing services and education to address health disparities in underserved communities across the U.S.

About the Quest Diagnostics Foundation 

The Quest Diagnostics Foundation was formed in 2001 to promote the benefits of healthcare and wellness, drive the prevention, early detection, monitoring and treatment of disease, and educate the general public and healthcare professionals on healthcare issues. Together with Quest Diagnostics, the Foundation sponsors Quest for Health Equity.

About Quest Diagnostics 

Quest Diagnostics empowers people to take action to improve health outcomes. Derived from the world's largest database of clinical lab results, Quest's diagnostic insights reveal new avenues to identify and treat disease, inspire healthy behaviors and improve health care management. Quest Diagnostics annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States, and our nearly 50,000 employees understand that, in the right hands and with the right context, our diagnostic insights can inspire actions that transform lives. www.QuestDiagnostics.com

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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics

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