A Beebe Nurse Delaware health equity Delaware hospitals Underserved

Here’s how Del. hospitals focus on underserved communities

Noah ZuckerHeadlines, Health

A Beebe Nurse Delaware health equity Delaware hospitals Underserved

It’s a Beebe Healthcare nurse administering a vaccine at the A Beebe nurse prepared a vaccine to be administer during the Rehoboth Beach AIDS Walk Delaware in September.

TidalHealth Nanticoke purchased mobile medical vans to take healthcare services to hard-to-reach communities.

Beebe Healthcare started a monkeypox vaccination program for the LGBTQ+ community at the beach.

ChristianaCare created a new wellness and psychotherapy center for transgender patients.

These are just a few of the initiatives highlighted in the Delaware Healthcare Association’s “Health Equity Report,” which details ways state hospitals are working to improve healthcare access and outcomes for underserved groups. 

The association is a hospital trade and member services organization for Delaware’s hospitals.

Aiding underserved

CEO Wayne Smith said the definition of health equity is still evolving.

He described it as an approach to medicine that acknowledges “life circumstances and the complexities of history can have a negative impact” on healthcare and outcomes for some  demographic groups.

These inequities are often most pronounced among those living in poverty, the LGBTQ+ community and people of color

Smith said the concept of health equity is only about five years old, but healthcare providers in Delaware have been working to break down these disparities for much longer than that.

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The association report highlighted the racial and ethnic disparities in infant mortality rates across Delaware. 

The statewide infant mortality rate dropped 20% between 2009 and 2019, but between 2017 and 2019 the rate among Black mothers was still four times higher than the rate among white mothers, said March of Dimes, an organization that compiles birth statistics. 

The rate for Hispanic mothers was about half the rate among Black mothers over the same period.

The healthcare association also noted its support for the “momnibus” legislative package, a slate of bills focused on improving maternal and infant care statewide. It was passed into law in July.

Mostly, though, the report focuses on hospital programs. Here’s a summary.

TidalHealth Nanticoke

This year, TidalHealth Nanticoke purchased two mobile medical vans that go into hard-to-reach, underserved communities to provide screenings such as diabetes risk assessments and blood pressure checks. The new team hired to work the vans includes a nurse practitioner, a registered nurse and three community health workers.

TidalHealth also helps patients pay for home repairs that could improve health outcomes. For example, the initiative could help a patient at risk for falls outfit his or her home with a new wheelchair ramp.

Beebe Healthcare

Beebe Healthcare started a program providing monkeypox vaccinations to certain members of the LGBTQ+ community and those who’ve contracted HIV. Those groups are at a greater risk of contracting the virus than the general public.

The hospital also held a virtual town hall for the LGBTQ+ community following a state outbreak of cases in partnership with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.


ChristianaCare created a Gender Wellness Program in June to provide psychotherapy and other support to patients 13 or older experiencing gender dysphoria.

The hospital offers individual, group, couple and family therapy options. It also has resources to help patients update their personal documents and get permission for sex reassignment surgery.

The program also refers patients to doctors in the community who can administer other  gender-affirming treatments like hormone replacement therapy.


Bayhealth has partnered with the Food Bank of Delaware to combat food insecurity in Delaware by creating an app called 302 Food Rescue.

It is designed to connect food banks and other community groups with edible goods and meals that otherwise would be thrown out by grocery stores and restaurants.

Bayhealth also started an initiative to raise awareness about nutrition and healthy grocery shopping and cooking practices.


This year, Nemours Children’s Health Delaware, has been focused on its school-based health center program, which provides medical care to students in underserved communities.

It opened a new center at Seaford’s Frederick Douglass Elementary School in September and already had one running with Colonial School District in New Castle.

The centers can provide services like sports physicals, immunizations and behavioral health counseling. No care can be administered to a student without parental consent.

St. Francis Hospital

St. Francis Hospital wants to implement a “healthy village” program to help underserved residents.

The concept has been around for more than 20 years, focused on bringing neighborhood planning and public health priorities together to improve quality of life.

Those programs could include providing access to nutritious food, social support programs such as daycares, and any medical care a patient might need.


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