The Henry Schein Cares Foundation (HSCF) and the UPS Foundation have launched the “Wearing Is Caring” campaign to raise awareness of healthcare disparities in underserved communities, the need for social distancing, and the importance of wearing face coverings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The campaign is aligned with guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) that encourages the use of cotton or cloth face coverings in public spaces to reduce community spread.
To help promote access to healthcare, HSCF and the UPS Foundation will provide financial support to longtime partners including the National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA), the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC), the CDC Foundation, the National Urban League, and others.
Funds will provide support to critically important healthcare programs in communities most in need. Henry Schein also will donate and distribute cloth face coverings to NNOHA and NAFC. The organizations will select community health clinics within COVID-19 hotspots as the recipients, helping to improve public health safety, the partners said.
To help address the health disparities that have impacted communities of color, Henry Schein also will donate face coverings to local safety-net health systems and other local partners in support of the CDC Foundation’s Crush COVID initiative, of which support of health equity and investing in communities disproportionately impacted by coronavirus is a key pillar.
“The Wearing Is Caring campaign is another demonstration of Henry Schein Cares Foundation’s commitment to help advocate for public health, health equity, and wellness,” said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman of the board and CEO of Henry Schein.
“Together with nonprofit organizations and valued supplier partners, the Foundation can further its efforts to help support local safety net health systems, which provide essential care for those most in need,” Bergman said.
The face coverings will come in a variety of styles with messages including “Let’s Face It, Mask Up,” “Superheroes Wear Masks,” “Wearing Is Caring,” “Mask Me About My Smile,” “Just Keep Smiling,” and “I’m Still Smiling.”
“As we continue to support pandemic relief efforts, we’re bringing our understanding of the people who are most impacted into action,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of the UPS Foundation and UPS chief diversity and inclusion officer.
“We’re honored to collaborate with the Henry Schein Cares Foundation on their Wearing Is Caring campaign, as our collective efforts will help expand access to care in communities where help is urgently needed,” said Martinez.
“Philanthropic and private sector support is critical for use alongside government funding to meet needs that arise in rapidly evolving situations where speed and flexibility are paramount to saving and protecting lives,” said Dr. Judith Monroe, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.
“Henry Schein Cares Foundation’s Wearing Is Caring campaign showcases the supportive role that corporations can enhance health equity and help protect diverse communities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Monroe.
“When the coronavirus pandemic first hit the US, the National Urban League sounded the alarm on racial disparities in terms of public health and economic consequences,” said Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League.
“Public-private partnerships like this are urgently needed to bring support where it is most needed. Thanks to the foundations within Henry Schein, UPS, and the CDC, that support is being delivered,” said Morial.
In addition to HSCF, organizations contributing to the campaign include Bedford HealthCare, Claire Friedlander Family Foundation, Kuraray, Medicom, Crest + Oral-B, Pac-Dent, Richmond Medical & Dental, SDI, Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund, Shofu Dental, UPS and the UPS Foundation, VISTA Dental Products, and Verena Solutions.
As the campaign continues, Henry Schein and its partners will identify and work with additional organizations to further expand public awareness around healthcare disparities in underserved communities, the importance of oral healthcare, and the need for social distancing and the wearing of face coverings, the partners said.
The donated face coverings are for personal use only and are washable and reusable. They aren’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration or cleared medical devices of personal protective equipment. The face masks are for use in covering the user’s nose and mouth to help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 from the user to others during the pandemic.
Also, the masks are not for use in surgical settings or where significant exposure to liquid, bodily, or other hazardous fluids may be expected, clinical settings where the infection risk level through inhalation exposure is high, or the presence of a high-intensity heat source or flammable gas.