Novant Health and Bubba Wallace announced a partnership between the regional healthcare system and Wallace’s racing team 23XI Racing – co-owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin – to promote health equity and address vaccine hesitancy. With significant hesitancy rates across communities, particularly among minority populations, Wallace and Novant Health are racing to the finish line to bring an end to the pandemic by encouraging others to get vaccinated. In addition to their partnered vaccination efforts, Novant Health will serve as the Official Health and Wellness Provider of 23XI Racing and its employees.

“I’m really excited to partner with Novant Heath this year on several community initiatives, starting with getting my COVID vaccine this week,” said Wallace. “For me, it’s important to learn about the vaccine and do my part to help get us back to normal. I want to see fans safely back at the race track and filling the grandstands, I want to safely attend concerts and sporting events, all the things we did before COVID. To do those things, it starts with getting vaccinated and I encourage others to get their shot and help get us all safely back to normal.”

Novant Health has been focused on ensuring equitable vaccine distribution in priority ZIP codes where health disparities are more common. To date, Novant Health’s vaccination rate for Asian and Black patients at a community event is three times that of the general North Carolina vaccination rate. The healthcare system has administered over 15,000 equity doses at small community pop-up events where 67% of attendees identify as a member of a racial or ethnic minority.

This multi-pronged, strategic approach includes:

  • Awareness and education. Launching campaigns designed to build trust and overcome hesitancy through digital, traditional and grassroots outreach.

  • Partner activations. By working closely with faith-based organizations, community partners and businesses across its markets, Novant Health has been able to reach more than 15,000 community members who otherwise may not have had access to, or acceptance of, the vaccine.

  • Community-based distribution. More than 50 community pop-up events — at local churches, schools and businesses — have helped to distribute an average of 1,100 equity doses per week in priority ZIP codes.

“Novant Health has long been working to close health equity gaps, but we can’t go at it alone. The more partners we have committed to helping us tackle these tough issues, the greater the impact will be,” said Carl Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health. “We thank Bubba for stepping up and using his voice, which helps educate members of our communities who may not trust or want the vaccine. It’s vital we do all that we can to show our communities that the vaccines are safe and effective.”

As the Official Health & Wellness Provider of 23XI Racing, Novant Health will develop platforms and tools to manage the health and wellness for all employees of the race team. In addition, Wallace will partner with Novant Health for future initiatives designed to bring awareness to key health equity issues.