February 9, 2021 

CONTACT: Katherine Rodriguez, (347) 525-1513, 

Community-based organizations and people most impacted by health disparities to power movement 

(Boston, MA and Princeton, NJ) – Today, Community Catalyst along with Community Change and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities announced the launch of the new Voices for Health Justice (Voices Project) project to build grassroots power and affect policy change at the federal, state and community level around issues of health care access and affordability, and dignity in care. With funding support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the program will provide over $9 million to 25 state and community-based organizations across 24 states over 2.5 years.  

The initiative comes at a critical time as the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the deep inequities in the U.S. health system that disproportionately harm Black, brown and Indigenous people. Data shows that Black people, Latinx people, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians Other Pacific Islanders (NHOPIs) are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are more likely to work as essential, frontline workers and therefore more likely to be exposed to COVID. Because of unfair barriers to living wages and health coverage, as well as systemic racism within the delivery system, they are also less likely to access affordable, quality health care that meets their needs. The devastating impact of COVID-19 is part of a larger pattern of longstanding unjust and discriminatory barriers to health care and economic security for Black and brown communities. The Voices Project is focused on centering their perspectives and leadership working towards solutions for health equity.  

“This is a far-reaching initiative, powered by the people our health system has failed, that aligns with our decades-long work to ensure that all individuals have a voice in decisions that affect their health,” said Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst. “The Voices for Health Justice project makes a concerted investment in community-led efforts that serve Black and brown communities to shine a light on the lived experiences of those most harmed by health inequities and to leverage their power in demand of a community-driven, community-responsive health system that meets everyone’s needs.” 

The Voices Project grantee group is comprised of local and statewide organizations working in and with Black and brown communities, immigrants, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, and low-income and rural communities often overlooked by policymakers and failed by the health system. Projects touch on a wide array of themes related to health care access, affordability and dignity when seeking care in systematically excluded communities. Some common themes include protecting and expanding access to Medicaid coverage, encouraging states to provide comprehensive coverage regardless of immigration status, mobilizing and engaging alternative care providers such as doulas and community health workers in health policy change, and working to narrow health inequities through a racial justice framework.   

“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is thrilled to launch this initiative with Community Catalyst, Community Change and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,” said Andrea Ducas, senior program officer at RWJF. “We are excited to support community-led efforts to advance policies that promote equity in health and health care. Now is the time for foundations in the health justice movement to focus on providing deeper investments in state and community-based advocacy to address the root causes of America’s health inequities because everyone deserves the opportunity to be healthy and thrive.”  


For more information about the Voices for Health Justice project, click here. 

For more information about RWJFclick here 

About Community Catalyst: 
Community Catalyst is a leading non-profit national health advocacy organization dedicated to advancing a movement for health equity and justice. We partner with local, state, and national advocates to leverage community power so all people can influence decisions that affect their health. 

Health systems will not be accountable to people without a fully engaged and organized community voice. That’s why we work every day to ensure people’s interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and health care are made: in communities, state houses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @CommCatHealth.