Researchers published an emergency preparedness plan that helps provide access to culturally relevant, evidence-based data.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there’s increasing evidence that COVID-19 is adversely impacting communities of color, putting them more at risk of getting sick and dying.
In fact, the Mayo Clinic says African Americans are more than three times as likely to die from COVID.
There are long-standing inequities in health care, but Mayo is sharing a new plan to give everyone a fair shot at staying healthy and it’s being led by cardiologist Dr. LaPrincess Brewer.
Her plan called FAITH! (Fostering African-American Improvement in Total Health) originally started to tackle cardiovascular disease in Black communities and other emergencies like natural disasters and house fires, but it pivoted to preparing for the pandemic back in March.
“People don’t always care about what you know, they want to know that you care,” said Dr. Brewer, who had to work at gaining people’s trust. She did that by disseminating facts and supplies particularly through the church.
Dr. Brewer says, “It’s not only a place of salvation and refuge, but it’s also a place of longstanding community outreach to it’s surrounding communities.”
She’s working with 100 of them to build targeted campaigns, build Facebook pages and gather data. In fact, Dr. Brewer found 75-percent of people of color in a recent survey wouldn’t get a COVID vaccine.
The CDC says minorities are more at risk because they more often live in crowded conditions, work in factories and are uninsured. One church member Dr. Brewer partners with says she started a food drive during the pandemic and now gives away 20,000 pounds of food a week.
“We have people that would travel upwards of a couple hours just to pick up food because we don’t limit the amount of food you can take,” said Brenda Granison of New Creations Ministries Church of God in Christ.
The churches are also equipped with manuals, starter kits from the Red Cross and team leaders to serve their congregations. Dr. Brewer’s work was recently published with the CDC and will serve as a framework to deliver culturally relevant messages for other disasters.
You can also follow the FAITH! Facebook page for daily information, scripture and the promotion of health equity for African Americans.