Together for West Philadelphia is a nonprofit collaborative of hospitals, community organizations, universities, and social service agencies working together to maximize impact on health equity in West Philadelphia. In partnership with Congressman Dwight Evans, Together for West Philadelphia released a video during his State of the District address on February 25. The video acknowledges COVID vaccine hesitancy in West Philadelphia’s communities of color and encourages people to engage in getting information and making their own informed decisions. Featured in the video are recognized leaders from local faith-based organizations and businesses, as well as experts from Penn Medicine, Drexel University, and Lankenau Medical Center of Main Line Health.
The institutional partners of Together for West Philadelphia have announced their collective donation of $72,000 to the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, in support of the consortium’s work to provide barrier-free testing and vaccination alternatives in the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus disease. Contributing institutions include Main Line Health, Penn Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Drexel University, Saint Joseph's University, Villanova University, Villanova University M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, University of the Sciences, Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic (Mercy Catholic Medical Center), and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
These partners are all enthusiastic about supporting the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium’s important work. According to an op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer written by Dr. Florence Momplaisir in October 2020, “racial minorities, particularly African Americans, have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. As of September, African Americans were 2.6 times more likely to have COVID-19, 4.7 times more likely to be hospitalized, and twice as likely to die from COVID-19 compared with white, non-Hispanics.” At the beginning of February, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that “slightly more than 15% of vaccinations given in Philadelphia went to Black residents, who make up over 40% of the city population. Still, that’s better than the 8% vaccination rate of (in January).” The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium (BDCC) has taken on this inequity directly, providing over 24,000 COVID tests and over 40,000 vaccines throughout Philadelphia this year. Due to their intentional approach, 82% of vaccines distributed have gone to People of Color, 75% to African Americans. The hospitals and universities who collaborate as part of Together for West Philadelphia are grateful to the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium for addressing this disparity and creating more equitable distribution of the vaccine and are happy to play a part in supporting this effort, together.
Congressman Evans said, “I’m proud to have worked with Together for West Philadelphia from the beginning of this collaborative and continuing through its latest efforts. I’m working at the federal level to deliver more vaccine distribution funding, with a focus on equity, and other much-needed help through the big and bold American Rescue Plan I recently voted for. And I’m hoping we can use the successful model of Together for West Philadelphia to improve people’s health and address related issues in other parts of Philadelphia as well!”
During the month of May, the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium will be hosting vaccine clinics in West Philadelphia, at sites including Christian Stronghold Church, Victory Christian Center, Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, and SEPTA 69th Street Station.