Commitment to Use Policy to Bridge the Digital Divide and Advance Telehealth for Black Americans
NEW YORK, MARCH 31, 2021 – CEO Action for Racial Equity today announced its first commitments to improve the lives of Black Americans through advocacy and advancement of public policies. Specifically, the Fellowship is focusing on closing the digital divide and expanding access to telehealth by advocating for policies for affordable, accessible Internet and removing barriers to telehealth services.
"Striking disparities in digital access, affordability and adoption for Black Americans have a ripple effect — from healthcare access, to learning loss for students, to economic opportunity," says Roy Weathers, CEO of CEO Action for Racial Equity. "As the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates these deeply rooted divides, our Fellowship harnesses the collective voice and resources of corporate America to drive change."
To launch its issue agenda, CEO Action for Racial Equity will first advocate for policy change in two areas:
Closing the digital divide. According to Pew Research Center, only 66 percent of Black households have broadband internet, compared to 79 percent of white households. By supporting policies that advance digital access, affordability and adoption in underserved communities, CEO Action for Racial Equity will address the far-reaching consequences of the digital divide – from disconnected students during remote learning, to insufficient digital literacy while navigating telehealth, online banking and more.
Expanding access to telehealth. The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to reverse over 10 years of progress made in closing the Black−white life expectancy gap, which increased by nearly 40 percent in 2020, from 3.6 years to over 5 years. Telehealth can address pressing health equity challenges including physician shortages, provider diversity, and service delivery. CEO Action for Racial Equity will support both telehealth legislation and regulation that enables equitable administration of services. We will also advocate for bipartisan action to enable digital health solutions that mitigate disparities in the US healthcare system.
CEO Action for Racial Equity looks forward to expanding its policy agenda and lending its voice to timely issues and topics that are important to Corporate America in driving impact to 47M+ Black Americans across the country.
For a full list of participating companies or more information on how to become a signatory, visit ceoaction.com/racial-equity.
About CEO Action for Racial Equity
Launched in October 2020, CEO Action for Racial Equity is focused on advancing racial equity through public policy. Through the Fellowship, employees from more than 100 signatory organizations from CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion™ are working full time to address racial equity in four key areas: healthcare, education, economic empowerment and public safety. Overseen and governed by a group of 20 CEOs representing multiple industries and regions, CEO Action for Racial Equity unites the talent and resources of corporate America to drive societal change alongside community stakeholders and policymakers.