Abbott Fund grants $750,000 to education and health equity agenda

Easterseals announced it received a $750,000 grant from the Abbott Fund to pilot the Community Health Education and Equity Project.

The grant will fund the project by 2025, with the three-year initiative aimed at removing systemic barriers to high-quality education and health care faced by children and families in underserved communities.

According to a news release, research demonstrates that young children, particularly children with disabilities and children of color, face significant gaps in access to essential health and social services that can provide the targeted support they need. need to prepare for success in school.

The company cites an example of a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics showing that black children with autism and other disabilities are diagnosed on average more than three years after their parents expressed concerns about their development. . Such delays in diagnoses could mean that children are deprived of age-appropriate care and opportunities to improve their health and cognitive abilities.

Easterseals intends to create an integrated system to meet the educational and health needs of children to help them reach their full potential. The project includes expanding access to screenings and essential physical and mental health care for children, providing targeted social services to help families overcome gaps in basic needs, nutrition, transportation and other social and economic barriers and ensuring administrators and early childhood educators have the appropriate training to identify and address health and social challenges and provide culturally appropriate support to children.

The project will be implemented at Easterseals Child Development Centers in Southern California, Atlanta and Northern Georgia, as well as in the greater Washington, DC area.

“We are proud to support the important work of Easterseals to help close equity gaps in education and community health,” Abbott VP of Global Marketing and External Affairs and President of the Abbott Fund Melissa Brotz said in the release. “We are committed to advancing health equity and addressing racial health disparities, and our partnership with Easterseals will help reduce barriers to care for children, their families and communities.”

The project builds on previous Easterseals programs, including the Black Child Fund which it launched in 2021 with support from the Abbott Fund. This program has advanced early identification and interventions for Black children with autism and other disabilities to reduce health disparities often encountered in early childhood.

Abbott said the Abbott Fund investment has launched pilot projects at Easterseals sites serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford, DuPage and the Fox Valley (Illinois) area, and Kansas City and St. Louis (Missouri).

“Through the Community Health Education and Equity Project, Easterseals’ intent is to address health care disparities among young children in low-investment communities and understand the connection between health equity and early childhood educational attainment,” Easterseals National Director of Children’s Development, Education and Equity, said Erika L. Watson. “We intend to center the experiences of children of color and their families, for whom inequalities have only been exacerbated because of the pandemic.”

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