Multicultural Health Institute (MHI)

A nonprofit organization

$3,620 raised by 24 donors

14% complete

$25,000 Goal

Together We Are Stronger

The Multicultural Health Institute (MHI, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established in 1995 by Dr. Lisa Merritt, MD. Its core mission is to address health disparities in the medical system and redirect and target care to the affected communities. MHI seeks to level the healthcare playing field by promoting, educating, and ensuring equal healthcare access and treatment for individuals and communities who are traditionally uninsured and receive a poor quality of care. We support programs that educate, identify, and test for diseases such as Cancer, Diabetes, Obesity, Stroke, Cardiovascular Disease, Infant Mortality, HIV/AIDS, and other health issues affecting under-represented communities across the United States which also help reduce the costs of healthcare.

Each one help each one” has become the heartbeat of MHI in collaboration with a growing coalition of volunteers, community-facing agencies, and community-based organizations. COVID-19 has exposed the glaring need to address the many disparities in health, healthcare, and socioeconomics, particularly for those of African descent as well as Latinx and other minority populations in America.  The most vulnerable among us are those with medically complex conditions; the pandemic has disproportionately affected Blacks. 

MHI mobilized March 2020 to respond to the pandemic’s impact on diverse populations at higher risk; nearly 7,000 people received direct assistance from these efforts by August 2020. MHI expanded efforts using a cooperative approach to reduce the spread of COVID-19, particularly among disproportionately impacted communities in SW Florida where nearly half the caseload was among people of color.  A partnership of organizations formed the Multicultural Action Team (M.A.T.)  for collaborative actions August 3 through December 30, 2020  the MAT  served over 30,000. The work continues, in 2020 and 2021 gains for the community increased individuals living healthier lifestyles, better nutrition, improved management of chronic health conditions, increased access to medications and linkage to medical care and resources. In 2021, MHI provided 50,000 masks, 9,000 hand sanitizers, attended, organized or collaborated on 450 events (simultaneous virtual, bi county efforts) with 12,450 attendees and face to face resources and interactions with 10,600 and gave out over 7,000 food boxes. Thus far 2022, Care Coordination assisted 288 people 86 events with nearly 3,000 encounters.

MHI with the Resilient American Communities (RAC) an initiative of Health Initiatives Foundation Inc. continue to steward the community Dashboard, with expansion to a national dashboard and intention to inspire Black Doctors to replicate similar efforts across the country. 

The initiatives generally focused on distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE); education of best practices in multiple and culturally appropriate languages through a variety of media; community-based assessments of conditions and needs; testing and connecting individuals to appropriate resources; tracking results and working to develop community-oriented solutions while advocating for resources and appropriate responses from the healthcare system and social institutions. 

Lisa Merritt, MD Multicultural Health Institute (MHI) - History/Backgrounds

Nationally, although African-Americans make up 13 percent of the population, they represent a third of deaths related to COVID-19. Numerous well-known social determinants of health drive the multicultural disparities that exist in healthcare and socioeconomic outcomes for the ethnic and cultural minority communities in the United States, particularly within Hispanic/Latinx and African-American communities.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the COVID-19 crisis has subjected minorities to even more unsafe conditions as only 16.2% of Hispanic workers and 19.7% of Black workers are able to work from home (i.e., telework) [A]. The CDC concedes that multigenerational or multi-family housing conditions may pose a challenge to protecting older household members or isolating if space is limited [B]. These communities are also underserved because of language barriers in disseminating information.

Putting the PEARLS into Play

Collaborative efforts to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and health Disparities on our communities, especially those among the African American and Latinx population through PREVENTION strategies to safeguard the most susceptible among us; EDUCATION to enable us to know better so we can do better; ADVOCACY to voice concerns and needs both of individuals and of the community; RESEARCH to gather data and details to make informed decisions; LINKAGE-to-Care to connect available resources and assistance in navigating the healthcare system; SOLUTIONS to address issues in the short-term and to resolve problems with long-term strategies, tools, and systems for the health and well-being of all within our reach and beyond.


Organization Data


Organization name

Multicultural Health Institute (MHI)

Tax id (EIN)



Environment Health Community


1781 Dr. Martin Luther King Way
Sarasota, FL 34234


941 706 3362

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