Dear Project Access community,

What a difference a single year makes. During this time last year, the state of Connecticut, and the rest of the world for that matter, had just begun the process of shutting down non-essential services due to the increasing dangers of the virus that we’d come to know as COVID-19. Just one year ago—none of us could have imagined the difficult months ahead. The sorrow, the pain, and the unease that so many have felt because of this pandemic is unconscionable.

In the face of the dark days that would follow, the staff at Project Access, rather than stand idly by, continued to serve its mission by supporting our patients social and medical needs that for some time seemed to be exponentially growing. Our team of Patient Navigators and Community Health workers

worked tirelessly to ensure that the thousands of underserved clients in New Haven and its neighboring towns were not left behind.

As a result, I could not be any prouder of what this team accomplished in the past year. In the year 2020, despite the many obstacles we faced, we were able to serve over 1,700 individuals with urgent medical and/or social needs. We navigated over 3000 medical appointments despite the vast amount delays and cancellations in the ambulatory setting. We educated each of our patients throughout the year regarding the most up to date guidelines on COVID-19 prevention. We compounded these efforts with flu vaccine messages in the fall, and partnered with Access Health CT to provide information and assistance to those needing help with their health insurance application. Throughout this time, we heard the stories of grief and sorrow firsthand. But we also heard the relief of maintaining a human connection during a time of great isolation and despair. These stories grew our resolve, and determination, to continue fighting for those most in need.

Now, as we look ahead to warmer weather, we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Millions have already been vaccinated, and millions more will be vaccinated in the coming months. Our mission to ensure equitable access to the vaccine, and other health resources, has never been more important. As members of our community have begun to increase their social contacts, we are pressing on with our information drive of promoting the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, while continuing to follow CDC guidelines on appropriate use of face masks and social distancing. As we look back, we also look forward, and we are determined to continue adapting to the current needs of our patients. That has always been our goal. It will continue to be our goal for as long as it takes to ensure our community members receive the equitable access to resources that they deserve.

Be well,

Giselle Carlotta – McDonald, MBA

Executive Director