Will provide support to four existing RTW Charitable Foundation partner organizations and five new organizations, all focused on alleviating health access challenges for New Yorkers.
August 10, 2023, New York, NY – Today the RTW Charitable Foundation (RTWCF) announced a series of $50,000 grants to organizations in the New York City area dedicated to providing equitable healthcare access to underserved communities. This year’s grant partners are promoting diverse solutions to challenges New Yorkers are facing around health access through community-based health clinics, street-based care teams, incentives for appointment attendance, and additional culturally sensitive practitioners.
“We are honored to be able to support these local New York City organizations through both our funding and our direct partnership,” said Marti Speranza Wong, President Community Engagement, RTW Charitable Foundation. “Four of the organizations receiving grants in this cycle are partners that RTWCF has supported in past cycles and the remaining five are new to the Foundation. This represents a deliberate strategy to both build long-term relationships with great partners and expand our reach with new partners tackling issues we see as most pressing in our local communities.”
Following the announcement of the open call for grant submissions in February, organizations were encouraged to submit detailed plans including a description of the need, the proposed program, key personnel, and expected impact. After receiving over 30 submissions from relevant organizations in the New York City area, the RTWCF team, along with its Humanitarian Advisory Board, reviewed, analyzed, and held follow-up discussions with several organizations and ultimately agreed to fund these nine organizations.
RaisingHealth, formerly (Academy of Medical and Public Health Services), is a first-time RTWCF grant partner with a proposed Community Health Clinic Pop-up Program serving low-income immigrant families in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The project aims to provide health screenings for 600 community members, connect 450 community members to low-cost healthcare plans, and vaccinate 250 community members to protect against flu and/or COVID-19.
“The RaisingHealth team is immensely grateful to the RTW Charitable Foundation for its support of our Community Health Clinic Pop-Up Program, through which we will be providing monthly pop-up clinics for low-income, uninsured and under-insured immigrants in South Brooklyn. We will be directly tackling the unmet health and social needs of immigrant families by partnering with local organizations and clinicians to offer a wide range of preventive health screenings, vaccinations, and information about health and social services. Made up of mostly first- and second-generation immigrants, our team ensures all our services are provided in a culturally and linguistically sensitive manner and are tailored to the Latino and Chinese communities we serve. We are excited to partner with RTW to hold these monthly clinics and empower our immigrant community members to take control of their own health!”
Hewett Chiu, President and CEO, RaisingHealth
Hamilton-Madison House is another first-time grant partner and has developed a Postdoctoral Fellowship program to expand access to behavioral health services for the Asian-American community. The grant will support a 12-month fellowship with the goal of supporting 30-40 additional patients to help reduce symptoms, increase adaptive and pro-social behaviors, and increase treatment and medication compliance.
“This generous grant from the RTW Charitable Foundation will help 40 New Yorkers struggling with mental illness receive counseling from a culturally sensitive and linguistically competent qualified mental health professional. This grant will fund a fellowship for a post-doctoral psychology graduate and build the talent pipeline for diverse mental health professionals for the historically underfunded and overlooked Asian American mental health community. We operate the second-largest mental health clinic serving Asian Americans in the United States and provide treatment in 6 Asian languages and 7 Asian dialects. We see overwhelming demand for our clinical services in light of anti-Asian racism and the COVID pandemic, and we welcome this support that will reduce the strain on our overburdened clinicians. This critically needed investment will expand equitable access to mental health services for our community.”
Lilya Berns, Assistant Executive Director for Behavioral Health Services at Hamilton-Madison House
East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership (EHHOP)
Another first-time RTWCF partner, EHHOP has developed a Health Access Voucher program to reduce barriers to healthcare access by both incentivizing and facilitating appointment attendance at their clinics. The program aims to decrease appointment no-show rates in its clinics by 20%, increase the number of patient visits by 75, and increase overall patient enrollment from 297 to 320.
“Whenever I schedule a follow up for one of my patients, they pause to do the math: can they afford to miss work that day? No one should have to choose between making ends meet and receiving medical care, and this grant from the RTW Charitable Foundation will help us alleviate this burden.”
Jeremy Sherman, MD/PhD Candidate at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Mental Health Clinic Chair Emeritus, EHHOP
Harlem United Community AIDS Center
This year’s grant to Harlem United marks RTWCF’s third project with the organization following two years of vaccine access and education programs. This year, the organizations are partnering to expand Harlem United’s Street-based Medicine project, distributing 575 client care packages and providing care to an additional 50 clients. In addition, Harlem United will train two new Peers experienced with substance use and recovery to contribute to the team and will plan a community education event on the experience of addiction with the goal of moving people to action.
“Harlem United is proud to once again partner with the RTW Charitable Foundation. Together, through generous funding, our Street-Based Medical program will bring together healthcare and life-saving tools to unhoused New Yorkers with limited access to care. Thank you for helping advance health equality!”
Kevin Renté – Senior Vice President, Harlem United Community AIDS Center
BioBus brings together the two key areas of RTWCF’s mission – science and community support – to provide STEM education and mentorship to children in underserved communities. This new partnership between the organizations aims to reach between 750 and 900 students with mobile laboratory programming and launch a new STEM mentoring program in collaboration with Hunts Point Alliance for Children and Areté Education.
“BioBus works to create scientific community for people excluded from science. Young people across NYC are pumped about science, and BioBus works to create scientific spaces where these young scientists develop their skills and identity as scientists.”
Latasha Wright, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, BioBus
Razom was the recipient of RTWCF’s first emergency response grant last year following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This year’s grant continues the organizations’ partnership to support the local response effort helping Ukrainian refugees navigate health care when they arrive in New York and before they are eligible for insurance coverage.
“We are incredibly grateful to the RTW Charitable Foundation for continuing to support Razom and the Ukraine Response Initiative (URI) project. This grant will allow for URI to procure hygienic and wellbeing items for displaced Ukrainians, as well as conduct a survey of their experience and needs in the US when it comes to healthcare, the findings of which we plan to share with partner organizations in order to better assist our clients and continue advocating on their behalf. Most importantly, this grant will contribute to our efforts to continue assisting displaced Ukrainians in rebuilding their lives in this country in tangible ways."
Mariia Khorun, Esq., URI Project Lead, Razom
In its third year, this Weill Cornell-RTWCF partnership will focus on data science in pediatrics. The program seeks to analyze health records to identify disparities in care, educate medical staff on patient characteristics, diagnoses, and treatments and outcomes, and to create and implement 11 quality measures that can be implemented to improve the gaps in care across race and insurance status.
“Pediatricians tend to think about one patient at a time, visit by visit, child by child. Our vision, graciously supported by the RTW Charitable Foundation, is to harness data collected through these visits to improve the health of children as a population. We will do this by organizing our data and making it available to our academic physician faculty to support a variety of initiatives and to improve access to care and clinical outcomes.”
Dr. Zachary Grinspan, interim chief of the Division of Child Neurology, director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Program, and associate professor in pediatrics and in population health sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine
The partnership between RTWCF and Mixteca is a new one for 2023 and aims to address health access challenges for asylum seekers in New York City. The grant provides funding for two large-scale health fairs to provide key health services and screenings to up to 1,000 individuals, monthly days of action to provide health education and awareness, and the purchase and distribution of medical supplies and resources.
“Health fairs bridge the gap between individuals and accessible healthcare by empowering individuals with knowledge, resources, and opportunities to prioritize their well-being. Through our partnership with RTW Foundation, Mixteca will not only be able to provide health fairs access to newly arrived asylum seekers, but also services, resources and information building a supportive environment for the community.”
Vianey Romero-Mendez, Director of Programs, Mixteca
The University of Pennsylvania's BioEYES program has been providing lab experiences and science education programming to students at no cost for the past 20 years. In 2021, RTWCF partnered up with BioEYES to bring their program to students in New York City for the first time. The partnership between RTWCF and BioEYES continues with the aim of reaching 1,000 new students in East Harlem during the upcoming academic year.
“Thanks to RTW’s support, we are able to partner with educators to bring an innovative STEM exposure to students in our neighboring underserved communities, who might otherwise lack access to resources and opportunities in health and biomedicine. Our program brings the lab to the classroom and delivers foundational skills that make engaging modern medicine and research fun and accessible!”
Florence Marlow, PhD, Associate Professor, Cell, Developmental & Regenerative Biology, Icahn School of Medicine
About RTW Charitable Foundation
Founded in 2018 as the charitable foundation arm of RTW Investments, LP, RTW Charitable Foundation works to power rare disease research, medical innovation and humanitarian collaborations to improve the health of underserved communities. The Foundation is able to provide capital, manpower, and logistical support to help scientists push such projects forward. In addition, the Foundation aims to assist in advocacy, disease awareness and directly support organizations and communities in New York City. To learn more, visit www.rtwcf.org.