Jan 10, 2023

AARP & RWJF Name Recipients of Health Equity Innovations Fund Awards

Updated as of August 15, 2023

Contact: Mary Boyle, CCNA Communications Director at mboyle@aarp.org

The AARP Center for Health Equity through NursingSM and the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), have awarded nearly $700,000 to 15 projects (updated August 15, 2023) offering promising solutions aimed at eliminating structural inequities, particularly structural racism, within the nursing profession, health systems, or community, and for projects that  help improve  access to care and services for those most disproportionately impacted by  health disparities. Projects also support the advancement of one or more of the recommendations in the National Academy of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity.

Structural racism is pervasive within the nation’s health and health care systems, and despite progress, still poses significant barriers to health and wellbeing for far too many. Additionally, health and wealth disparities disproportionately affect people of color, as well as older Americans, women, people with low-income, those with disabilities, those from LGBTQ communities, and those who live in isolated rural communities.

The 15 winning projects are from: California (3), District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland (2), Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin (2). (Update August 15, 2023) Read more about the projects and recipients.

“This is our first time offering this award and we received an impressive number of applications addressing a range of issues and potential solutions,” said Susan C. Reinhard, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior vice president and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute, and chief strategist at the Center to Champion Nursing in America (CCNA) and Family Caregiving Initiatives. “It’s clear to me that nursing recognizes its role and is committed to advancing health equity. It’s an exciting time for our profession, and for the Campaign and the AARP Center for Health Equity through Nursing. We have work to do, and we are all in.” 

“Longer, healthier lives are not just the result of individuals making healthy choices,” said Jean Accius, PhD, senior vice president for AARP Global Thought Leadership. “Good health and longevity are simply not available to everyone in this country. There are structural barriers and biases in the health care system and how it’s funded.” He continued, “I am very proud of AARP’s commitment to supporting nurses in the fight against health disparities.”

“Nurses are everywhere in our communities – from the bedside to our schools and in board rooms,” said Beth Toner, RN, MSN, MJ, and senior communications officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). “They see firsthand the impact of the structural injustices baked into the systems that impact health. At RWJF, we understand that their expertise and innovation are absolutely essential to dismantling structural racism within our health systems and beyond,” she continued. “And for the same reasons, we are helping to fund these awards. The innovation, passion and commitment we see in all these grantees is exactly what I expect from nurses.”

The awards will be administered by the Center to Champion Nursing in America (CCNA) at the AARP Center for Health Equity through Nursing. (Read more below.)

For more information and to learn about individual projects, go to campaignforaction.org/health-equity-innovations-fund.

The AARP Center for Health Equity through Nursing serves as a vehicle for change and national resource for advancing health equity.  CCNA is an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and it runs the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of the same organizations building a healthier America through nursing. Since its founding in 2007, CCNA has created national and state multi-sector networks to stimulate collaboration, innovation and spur action for better health and well-being through nursing.