Two Strategies Merck Uses to Address Health Disparities

April 25, 2018

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer and diabetes, are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. And among those affected, there is a significant disparity in access and health outcomes among underserved populations, who are particularly impacted by these diseases.

To reduce these disparities and improve health care quality, the Merck Foundation has launched several partnership initiatives to discover innovative, sustainable, and measurable methods of expanding access worldwide.

One such initiative is Bridging the Gap: Reducing Disparities in Diabetes Care (Bridging the Gap). This program aims to improve access to high-quality diabetes care and reduce disparities in health outcomes among vulnerable and underserved populations with type 2 diabetes in the United States. Bridging the Gap sets out to tackle this issue in two ways:

  • Implement a more customized delivery of primary care, including coordinated team-based care that takes into account medical and social factors that may affect treatment and care management.
  • Engage multiple levels of the health care system, such as the patient, family support system, health care team, and health care organization levels.

Another initiative the Merck Foundation has launched to further their work in reducing health disparities is the Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care (the Alliance). The Alliance aims to increase timely access to patient-centered care and strengthen overall quality of care, including patient-provider communication, patient engagement, and more.  

Additionally, throughout Merck Foundation’s initiatives lies the common goal to build sustainable partnerships and engage in multi-sector collaborations in order to make the greatest impact. To effectively address the issue of health disparities, the Merck Foundation works with governments, donors, patient organizations, health care professionals, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, multilateral organizations, and the private sector.

These are just two examples of how the Merck Foundation is supporting evidence-based, multi-sector approaches to address both medical and social determinants of health, and promote sustainable improvements in the delivery of care. Across these two programs alone, the Foundation has committed millions of dollars to support communities across the country.

To learn more about the Merck Foundation’s health programs, click here.