Ruth Clements Speaks at National Action Network Event Addressing Health Inequities

May 21, 2024 3:00 PM ET
Ruth Clements speaks

Quest Diagnostics East Region President Ruth Clements explained how routine diagnostic testing is crucial to closing gaps in healthcare as part of health panel at the National Action Network (NAN) Convention in April.

Hosted by Choose Healthy Life (CHL), Ruth joined "The State of Black Health: Building a New Normal," to discuss the gap in care for the black community. The panel was moderated by Choose Healthy Life founder Debra Frazer-Howze and included NYC Commissioner of Health Dr. Ashwin Vasan, Rev. Dr. Que English, Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford (Harvard Medical School), and others.

In her previous role as Vice President/General Manager of Infectious Diseases & Immunology (IDI) at Quest, Ruth was instrumental in the COVID-19 response planning for Quest Diagnostics. She explained that the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in black communities in 2020 finally shined a light on existing inequities in health outcomes.

“For me, being in charge of the COVID response for Quest, which was a hectic time, I could not ignore the facts,” said Ruth. “The facts that people who looked like me were dying unnecessarily because they didn’t have access to testing, they didn’t have the right information, and they didn’t have doctors that looked like them that they could trust. Misinformation in the community around COVID that killed people was just heartbreaking to me.”

Quest launched Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE) in 2020 during the heart of the pandemic response. Quest made a commitment to do its part to address the systemic inequity fueling the health equity gap and work towards meaningful progress by working with dedicated partners like Choose Healthy Life.

The Q4HE team continues to work toward removing the barriers deepening health inequities in under-resourced communities and improve equity in testing and screening, which includes Blueprint for Wellness®.

Blueprint for Wellness is Quest’s comprehensive biometric screening that measures more than 25 key indicators of health, including blood glucose, cholesterol and hemoglobin A1C.

“We are connecting people to care,” said Ruth. “For us, it is about people knowing their health risks as well as their health strengths and taking action and following that up with care.”

In 2023, Q4HE provided 6,113 no-cost Blueprint for Wellness tests in marginalized communities.

“It is a privilege as Quest to be a part of this initiative,” said Ruth. “Healthcare is a team sport— we have to do this together.”