Assistant U.S. Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, on Thursday touted Philadelphia’s Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium as an example of a model that can be used to reduce health care inequality throughout the country.
Levine, Pennsylvania’s former health secretary and the first openly transgender person to be confirmed by the Senate, said she plans to present some of the BDCC’s accomplishments when she and other members of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force meet Friday.
“This is really a model…for the type of work that we want to do throughout the country,” Levine said.
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The health equity task force will provide recommendations to the president’s administration on how to mitigate health inequities caused and exacerbated by the pandemic and how to prevent inequities in the future, Levine said.
Last week, Dr. Thomas Farley, Philadelphia’s health commissioner, said the racial disparity between who’s inoculated and who’s not was growing in the city, with more white people than Black people getting shots.
The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium was created in 2020 to address coronavirus’ disproportionate impact on Black people. The group, founded and headed by Dr. Ala Stanford, provides free testing and vaccination clinics, focusing its efforts on the hardest-hit parts of southeast Pennsylvania. It also offers home vaccinations for people who can’t access clinics.
Levine said the group has demonstrated the importance of having trusted messengers convey the safety and effectiveness of vaccines to communities.
“The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium is such a fantastic example of how we’re going to reach individuals in their communities with messages from people that they know and people that they trust – trusted messengers like Dr. Stanford,” Levine said.