Two projects that focused on safeguarding area residents’ health during the COVID-19 pandemic are among the top honorees for a statewide award spotlighting Pennsylvania hospitals’ pandemic response.
The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania’s COVID Response Innovation Awards showcase the innovative teams, solutions and projects that have helped shape the healthcare community’s response to, understanding of, and resilience to the pandemic.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia won the first place award for its efforts to support the health and development of Philadelphia children by facilitating early access to COVID-19 vaccines for school and childcare employees. Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic and Penn Medicine took third place for their partnership addressing racial inequities in COVID-19 vaccine access.
“Pennsylvania hospitals have not only protected the health of their communities during this pandemic, but have also been leaders in finding innovative solutions to the unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19,” said HAP president and CEO Andy Carter. “These awards recognize the exceptional healthcare teams that developed creative strategies to meet their communities’ needs and address issues such as vaccine access, racial disparities in vaccination and medical supply chain disruptions.”
The winners were selected from nearly 80 blinded entries that were evaluated by a group of independent judges from Pennsylvania and across the nation.
Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic and Penn Medicine partnered with black community leaders to establish rotating community vaccine clinics in Philadelphia neighborhoods that addressed racial barriers to access early in the vaccine rollout. By March 2021, the partnership vaccinated 2,821 people, 85 percent of whom were black, via three mass vaccination clinics. The effort ultimately administered 60,000 vaccine doses across the larger Philadelphia region, more than one-third of them in the targeted neighborhoods.
“We are grateful for HAP’s recognition of our collaborative effort,” said Sharon Carney, MD, senior vice president and chief clinical officer for Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic. “It’s been well-documented that communities of color — especially black and Hispanic people — were less likely to take the COVID-19 vaccine early on in the pandemic. We sought to reverse that trend by eliminating barriers and educating our community that vaccination stops the spread and prevents unnecessary deaths. Partnering with Penn Medicine was easy, as we share common goals, and together with our community and religious leaders, we’ve made measurable differences. In the end, however, the true winners are the people of the Greater Philadelphia region.”
The award winners will be recognized during HAP’s annual Leadership Summit, May 9-10, at the Harrisburg Hilton.