Community Resilience

One way Providence lives out our Mission to serve all, especially those who are poor and vulnerable is through purposeful investments and partnerships, often through our community investment program. Each year we have deepened our investments in the seven states we serve by working closely with social services and government agencies, charitable foundations, community and faith-based organizations, universities and others. We collaborate with community leaders to identify and respond to our communities’ greatest needs and strengthen their capacity to build a stronger, more equitable future. Additionally, aligned with our vision of health for a better world, we have collaborated with international partners to invest in health-improving initiatives.

Informed by our Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs), we work in close partnership with local organizations to address our communities' most pressing needs and invest in programs shown to improve health disparities and inequities.

  • *Denise Louie Education Center: Swedish Health Services supports DLEC’s programs that educate and empower children and families to be their own advocates through respectful, culturally, and linguistically appropriate services. Learn more about the Swedish partnership with DLEC during 2020.
  • *Promotores de Salud: A community health worker training program was supported by volunteers between Providence Oregon and Catholic parishes in Multnomah and Yamhill counties. Learn how these parishes adapted trainings and practices in 2020.
  • *Supporting Career Development: With support from Cedars Sinai Medical Center and a grant from the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, Providence partnered with the Charles R. Drew University School of Medicine and Science to create the Community Health Worker Academy that provides continuing education and formal training to community health workers in the Los Angeles region.
  • Swindells Resource Center of Providence Child Center: The Center supports parents and other caregivers of children who have special behavioral or developmental needs. The Center provides resources, information and education to communities throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington and quickly pivoted its services during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more.
  • *Bike Works: This organization believes that bikes are more than a mode of transportation. They are a means for leading a healthy and environmentally friendly life. Learn more about how Swedish Health Services supported this organization.

*Examples of our investments in community benefit programs, partnerships and initiatives. 

In 2020 Providence collaborated with international partners to quickly respond to community needs abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic. This included providing personal protective equipment (PPE), strengthening systems currently in place and ramping up community-based resiliency efforts focused on social determinants of health.

  • COVID-19 Symposia: Providence and our Guatemala-based partner, Faith In Practice, held two virtual symposia for clinicians to discuss strategies for COVID-19 treatment, immune response and research. Sharing learnings side-by-side led to cross-cultural feedback and strengthened local providers’ knowledge about how to best respond to the novel coronavirus.
  • In Malawi, Africa: As part of the Malawi partnership with Seed Global Health, University of Malawi- College of Medicine, and Swedish Family Medicine Residency, Providence invested in vital PPE and infection control supplies that provided critical protection for health workers and enabled health professional education to continue in Malwai’s Mangochi district.
  • In Guatemala and Mexico: Providence funded health-improving home infrastructure, including 92 improved latrines, 200 clean-burning stoves and 128 water systems across nine villages for those living in extreme poverty. These improvements helped reduce water-borne illnesses and respiratory diseases. Providence also supported Esperanza International’s safe and dignified housing work that oversaw the construction of 12 homes in Tijuana communities.

Escalating global climate change has exacerbated the occurrence of devasting natural disasters. In a year when we were also facing a global pandemic, Providence forged strong partnerships to respond to climate change and bolster communities’ abilities to prepare for and respond to disasters.

  • *Finding Homes After Oregon Wildfires: In 2020, Providence financially invested to support families affected by a housing crisis in Oregon. The housing shortage in this region was an ongoing challenge made worse by the 2020 wildfires that raged from town to town. Housing availability in Medford and its surrounding communities dropped to less than 1% after the devastating fires.
  • Disaster Response and Preparedness Initiative: When tragedy strikes in communities we serve, the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund, Providence’s grantmaking partner, quickly coordinates with local hospitals to bolster the efforts of nonprofits providing relief. SJCPF investments build up communities by addressing short-term needs immediately after a disaster, like food and shelter, coordinating with local hospitals, and by building longer-term strategies to lessen the impact of future disasters.
  • Reducing our Carbon Footprint: As a leading health care provider in the U.S. and to reach our goal of being carbon negative by 2030, Providence is mitigating its own carbon footprint and impact on the environment. Pollution and climate change harm health and disproportionately affect those in under-resourced communities.

*Examples of our investments in community benefit programs, partnerships and initiatives.

In 2020, we continued our Mission of service to all by engaging caregivers and community partners at home and abroad. The dedicated volunteerism of our caregivers provided vital support to local and global partners, reaching the most vulnerable during a global health crisis.

  • Together, we responded to critical domestic and international community needs during COVID-19 by supporting local partners, providing PPE supplies, and focusing on upstream responses to social determinants of health. Our work:
    • Leveraged our Volunteers in Partnerships portal to engage caregivers in more than 50 COVID-19 related volunteer opportunities with key local partner agencies.
    • Distributed between 2,000-3,000 comfort kits containing food and hygiene essentials and activities to local agencies in Washington, Oregon and California for people isolated at emergency shelters during state stay-at-home orders.
    • Supplied 10,000 hand sanitizers, 12,000 face masks, and educational resource materials to agencies serving migrant and other vulnerable communities during the pandemic.
    • Coordinated delivery of 115,900 face masks and 29,700 face shields to community health investment teams and community partners through the Providence Medical Supply Recovery Organization.
  • Reaching our Carbon-Negative Goal Together: Caregivers are encouraged to participate in advancing our carbon-negative goal. Each caregiver plays an essential role in this work. Providence has 23 ministry-level Green Teams, ambassadors who help reduce the carbon footprint of our local ministries, which focus on environmental efforts such as gardening, recycling, commuting and more.

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