Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street which reaches 156 million children across more than 150 countries, and Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services, has announced a new nationwide program to address health and well-being inequities among young children, particularly in low-income, rural, and marginalized communities.
The pandemic has had wide-ranging and lingering effects on children’s health, with many missing routine and preventive healthcare check-ups. Preventive health care for children is critical to address physical, mental, and emotional conditions and essential for providing routine vaccinations, tracking developmental milestones, treating identified health concerns, and providing support to families. According to a recent Public Health Report, missed visits among children under 5 years old were more common among lower-income, Black, and Latinx households than among higher-income and White households. The program’s English and Spanish-language resources are designed to connect and support parents and healthcare providers as partners in children’s care.
New research conducted by Sesame Workshop indicates a need for active and supportive “healthy teams” to promote young children’s well-being—a circle of care that includes parents, culturally-competent healthcare providers, and other caring adults. The initiative aims to reduce disparities by highlighting the unique strengths of each family and community; developing a common language around health and wellness and providing easy-to-understand resources; and fostering strong partnerships between families, healthcare providers, and other trusted individuals so that they can work together to make informed health-related decisions for each child.
“Sesame Workshop and Quest can promote positive outcomes for children and affirm families’ health and well-being by supporting equitable, culturally-competent practices,” said Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop’s Senior Vice President of U.S. Social Impact. “Together, we’re creating strategies and messages around preventive and everyday healthy practices, building health literacy, and addressing the increase in children’s food insecurity to reduce health inequities by empowering parents, caregivers, and the providers who serve them.”
Quest is teaming up with Sesame Workshop as part of Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE), a multi-year program focused on providing a combination of donated testing services, education programs, and funding to support initiatives working to close the gap in healthcare disparities in underserved communities across the U.S.
“We are excited to support the launch of this important program to help reduce health inequities,” said Ruth Clements, Vice President and General Manager of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at Quest Diagnostics and leader of Quest for Health Equity. “This collaboration with Sesame Workshop will create a solid network dedicated to supporting and improving health and wellness outcomes for children in under-resourced communities and empower parents to become strong advocates for their families.”
The program’s bilingual resources are designed to connect and support parents and healthcare providers as partners in children’s healthcare by:
Promoting Whole Child Well-Being
- Present everyday family routines as building blocks for learning healthy habits and reaching developmental milestones in both body and mind.
- Offer families and children, especially those most marginalized, ways to support their children’s wellness by understanding their growing needs in areas such as nutrition, physical milestones, preventive care, and social-emotional wellness.
Focusing on Forming a Healthy Team
- Include the child’s wider circle of care, using resources that support and empower parents in their communication with a broad range of providers, including non-traditional providers and influential community leaders.
- Support families to proactively use health care systems and have more effective communication with their healthcare teams.
- Work with our partners to integrate and distribute these resources to providers in these key communities so families have access to the information they need to improve their children’s well-being.
Building on Families’ Strengths
- Help providers explore the idea that families’ unique strengths—including those related to their race, ethnicity, and culture—are assets in coping with challenges.
- Foster equitable, culturally-competent partnerships and build trust between parents and caregivers, children, and their healthcare providers.
The new resources will be available on sesamestreetincommunities.org/topics/health/, and will also be implemented with key national partners to reach families and children, especially those in marginalized communities, and distributed through Sesame Street in Communities, a program to support community providers in their work to help children face challenges, big and small. Sesame Street in Communities combines Sesame Workshop’s proven and trusted expertise in early childhood education with an incredible network of educators, social workers, healthcare providers, and community organizations across the country.