The Social Action Committee held an impactful and empowering educational Town Hall on April 21, 2021 titled “COVID-19: The Vaccine, The Community, The Impact.” The webinar focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has impacted the Black community. The purpose of the program was to educate our communities about health disparities and engage them to advocate for better healthcare.
We invited Dr. Dial Hewlett, Medical Director at Westchester County Department of Health, Dr. Rose St. Fleur, Pediatrician at Jersey Shore Medical Center, and Dr. Noelle Aikman, OB-GYN at Jersey Shore Medical Center for the first panel discussion that was moderated by our Soror Dr. Avonia Richardson-Miller, Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Hackensack Meridian Health. The panel highlighted how the vaccines were developed and tested for safety, the reason for the challenges in vaccine rollout in the Black community and why our community is hesitant in being vaccinated. The panel also discussed why there are higher death rates in our community and the importance of being vaccinated.
In the second panel discussion, we invited Soror Dr. Jayne Morgan, Cardiologist and Executive Director of the COVID Task Force, Piedmont Healthcare, Atlanta, GA to share her experience of the health disparities in the Black community. Our Soror Dr. Patricia Whitley-Williams, Professor and Chair Department of Pediatrics, Division Chief, Allergy, Immunology, Infectious Diseases at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, served as moderator of this session and led a clear and robust Call To Action. Dr. Morgan highlighted how her published article encouraged Moderna to include African-Americans in clinical studies and emphasized that Black health care professionals need to be trained and financially supported while they are working in our communities. “Let’s move from Exploitation to Representation!”
If you missed the webinar, you can view the entire session on YouTube by clicking this link.