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Advancing Health Equity in America Begins in Local Communities

Health inequity is an American crisis fueled by myriad factors. But together, we can make a difference.

This year’s release of the U.S. News & World Report Healthiest Communities rankings offers an insightful look at the state of health equity in our country. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought light to the health inequities that underserved communities have experienced for decades, and the reality is that health inequity is an American crisis.

Now more than ever, we need to address social determinants of health and create a more equitable health care system that focuses on investing in our local communities. It will take stakeholders from across the health care spectrum to eliminate health disparities.

Recognizing the Intersection Between Health Equity and the Environment
Added this year to inform the rankings are data points that highlight the risks natural hazards, including those tied to climate change, pose to the health of our communities. A U.S. News analysis alongside the rankings reveals the higher levels of risk faced from these hazards by marginalized communities, underscoring the consequential health impacts that can result from exposure to phenomena like heat waves, flooding and wildfires.

Indigenous people are the most at risk from natural hazards in the United States, according to the analysis, while Black Americans are more at risk from heat waves, hurricanes, tornadoes and coastal flooding than any other demographic group.

Meanwhile, urban communities continue to have worse air quality than rural communities. Research also has shown that communities of color are more likely to be impacted by noise pollution, as well as face exposure to hazardous waste and chemicals. These types of issues are associated with worse health outcomes and lower life expectancies.

CVS Health recognizes that the health of all people is inextricably linked to the health of the planet. That’s why we’re taking a close look at the intersection of health equity and sustainability and identifying steps we can take at the local level to help create a more equitable and sustainable world.

Advancing Health Equity
Addressing health equity is nothing new to CVS Health. We’ve historically had a local presence in underserved communities across the country, providing convenient access to health care through our CVS Pharmacy locations. During the pandemic, we worked across our businesses – and with our network of community-based leaders and nonprofit organizations – to focus on addressing inequities related to COVID-19 vaccine access and education in vulnerable communities, with a particular focus on Black and Hispanic populations. In 2021, we administered more than 32 million COVID-19 tests and 59 million COVID-19 vaccines.

We know there is more work to be done in advancing health equity. As a health care innovation company that touches more than 100 million people across our lines of business, we can improve the trajectory of equitable health care for people in America.

We’re engaging with communities to understand what their specific needs are and working with them to develop interventions and programs that meet those needs. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Through our Health Zones initiative, we’re providing concentrated local investments designed to reduce health disparities and advance health equity in historically underserved communities across the country by addressing key social determinants of health.

Addressing a Key Barrier to Improving Health Outcomes
Equitable access to affordable housing serves as one of the greatest barriers to improving health outcomes. Healthiest Communities data shows renters in urban communities are spending at least 30% of their income on housing at higher rates than in rural ones, and eviction rates are higher as well.

CVS Health is addressing housing insecurities and promoting community health improvement in vulnerable populations across the country. When we make investments in local communities, we’re able to create a meaningful impact and help more people live healthier lives and reach their full potential.

In 2021, we reaffirmed our commitment to addressing housing insecurities and increasing access to health care services in underserved communities by investing $185 million in affordable housing in 2021. These investments are supporting the development and rehabilitation of more than 6,570 affordable housing units in 64 cities across 28 states and Washington, D.C.

Creating Healthier Outcomes Through the Power of Collaboration
We know that we need to address the underlying causes of health disparities – including racism, sexism and ageism – in order to truly move the needle. We know that no one person, organization or entity can do this alone. The private sector, employers, governments, hospitals, health care workers – everyone has a role to play.

The true measure of success will be when we see progress from collaborations that address social determinants of health and reduce inequities. By working together, we will be a catalyst for change and make a lasting impact on the well-being of people and communities across the country.

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FAA investigating contact between 2 United airplanes on Boston Logan tarmac

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a Monday incident between two United Airlines flights at Boston Logan International Airport, the agency said in a statement to CNN.

“As a tow tug was pushing it back from the gate at Boston Logan International Airport, the right wing of United Airlines Flight 515 struck the tail of United Airlines Flight 267 around 8:30 a.m. local time this morning,” the FAA statement said.

“Both aircraft were Boeing 737s that were scheduled for departure,” the statement added.

has reached out to United Airlines and Massport for more information about the incident.

A sudden jolt’
Passenger Nicholas Leone took a photo after the incident and described to CNN what happened.

“I felt a sudden jolt and look to my right to see that the plane had crashed into the still plane, ” he said. “After seeing the fire trucks and police cars, people were a little rattled. Thankfully everyone was able to offboard quickly.”

Passengers said the incident was a little jarring, according to CNN affiliate WHDH in Boston.

“It was just a pretty big shake,” said passenger Martin Neusch. “While we were on the plane, it just clipped the wings, so the two wings clipped each other on the plane.”

The station said passengers on both planes were rebooked on other flights set for Monday afternoon.

The contact between two aircraft on Monday morning follows a string of five close-call incidents earlier this year, including one at Boston Logan last week.

Air traffic controllers stopped a departing private jet from running into a JetBlue flight as it was coming in to land at Logan last Monday night, according to the FAA.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating that incident.

The two planes involved came within 565 feet (172 meters) of colliding, according to Flightradar24’s preliminary review of its data.

What’s the safest seat on a plane?. Travel asked an aviation expert
The NTSB is also investigating four other runway incursions involving commercial airliners at major US airports this year.

It’s investigating a possible “runway incursion” in Burbank, California, involving Mesa and SkyWest regional airliners.

Three other incidents have occurred at Honolulu, Austin and New York’s JFK airport this year.

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Flambéed pizza thought to have sparked deadly Madrid restaurant fire

A fire believed to have been started by a flambéed pizza has killed two people and injured 12 others at a restaurant in the Spanish capital Madrid, city officials said Saturday.

“It appears the fire started when a flambéed pizza was being served, which set fire to the decorations in the restaurant,” Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez Almeida told Spain’s state television TVE at the scene on Saturday, hours after the late Friday night blaze.

Spanish media reported that a specialty of the restaurant was a pizza in the flambé style – a cooking procedure where spirits are poured on the food and briefly set alight.

“Firefighters told me it was a ferocious fire in the way it started and the smoke it generated, and if the fire station wasn’t just 100 meters (around 330 feet) away, the number of fatalities could have been higher,” said Almeida, speaking to TVE.

Carlos Marin, a Madrid fire department night supervisor, said the restaurant “had just one exit, and since the fire was very close to the door, people went back to the rear of the restaurant, and they were completely trapped,” in videos tweeted by Madrid city emergency services.

The fire was quickly extinguished. Firefighters pulled 12 injured people from the restaurant, and six were taken to a hospital. That was in addition to the two fatalities, said Montse Marcos, a supervisor with the Madrid city ambulance services.

The fire was in the Plaza de Manuel Becerra, on the edge of the Spanish capital’s upscale Salamanca neighborhood.

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As Ukraine prepares counteroffensive, Russia appears in disarray

Ukraine’s much-anticipated counteroffensive appears imminent – and the way each side is preparing speaks volumes about their readiness.

Kyiv’s front lines are abuzz with vehicle movement and artillery strikes, with regular explosions hitting vital Russian targets in occupied areas.

Its defense minister has said preparations are “coming to an end” and President Volodymyr Zelensky has assured a counteroffensive “will happen,” while demurring on any exact start date.

It may have already started; it may be weeks away. We don’t know – and that fact is a strong measure of Ukraine’s success as this begins.

Moscow, on the other hand, is in the closing-time bar brawl stage of their war. After losing Kharkiv and Kherson, they have had at least seven months to ready the next likely target of Ukrainian attack: Zaporizhzhia.

That has happened, with vast trench defense networks that can be seen from space. That recognition of their enormity is not necessarily a compliment in 2023. They are big, yes, but they are also something anyone can peruse on Google. That’s not great in an era of precise rockets and speedy armored advances.

But it’s the last 72 hours that have perhaps most betrayed Russia’s lacking readiness.

First, the apparent firing of the deputy defense minister in charge of logistics, Mikhail Mizintsev. The Russian Ministry of Defense has not spelled out his dismissal, merely issuing a decree that Aleksey Kuzmenkov now has his job.

(A caveat: Prigozhin is not the most trustworthy source, and provides little evidence for what he says. But this sort of public spat isn’t something Moscow would encourage at this sensitive moment).

Russia’s eroding ammunition supplies were long known, but to suggest imminent failure just ahead of the counteroffensive smacks of a major bid to shift blame.

The bottom line is, the hours before Ukraine moves are shrinking. The amount we know about their emotional state, or target, is almost zero. And the extent of Moscow’s internal indecision, rivalries and disunity only grows.

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