CINCINNATI — It’s been a challenging year for Renee Mahaffey Harris, the Center for Closing the Health Gap president and CEO.

COVID-19 has changed the way she and her team connect with the community. 

“We quickly learned that that digital divide was separating the population that was already being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” Mahaffey Harris said.

What You Need To Know

  • Bethessa Inc. (BI3) created a $1.59 million grant to help fuel innovation and transform health and health care

  • The grant was provided to 37 organizations in Greater Cincinnati

  • The Center for Closing the Health Gap was one of the organizations chosen for the grant

  • This grant will help them provide health resources virtually to the community

In an effort to close that digital divide, the center has created online healthy lifestyle classes and resources to educate the community. A new grant from Bethesda Inc. is helping with initiatives like these. 

“The grant that we have received from BI3 is going to help us address what we all have seen with the disproportionate impact of COVID-19, not only on the mortality and morbidity of Black and brown people, but also the fact that the digital divide has become even more apparent,” she said.

The Center for Closing the Health Gap was one 37 organizations across the greater Cincinnati-area chosen for the $1.59 million grant. Bethesda Inc. President Jill Miller says the purpose of the grant is to fuel innovation and transform health and health care. 

“The Center for Closing the Health Gap is committed to addressing those health disparities. They understand and Renee is a fantastic leader at educating communities around health disparities and how many people of color don't receive the same care,” said Miller.

Harris says she’s appreciative of this grant and hopes to help more people in the community through these new resources. 

“I’m really so grateful that we now have a means of extending resources that will enable people to not have as a barrier not having access to a laptop or iPad, or internet access, or the software to support their internet access,” she said.