Community-based workforces and organizations who share in the worldviews, practical struggles, and cultural pride of the racial and ethnic communities they serve have been key to advancing health equity in the US. They have also been indispensable in closing the gaps in health and human services for the populations whom the pandemic has hurt in uneven numbers and intensity. They have, for instance, worked diligently to overcome material and attitudinal barriers to COVID-19 vaccination coverage within local Black and Hispanic/Latino communities.
We invite you to hear from local community leaders and their CommuniHealth research partners about: how this human-centered, community health infrastructure continues to exercise unmatched skills during the pandemic response, what further advances in health and wellbeing can be had if these local champions receive sustained support going forward, and why walking away from a still fragile community health sector and declaring “mission accomplished” could cause health disparities to resurge and hard-won trust to fade.
• Terrie Branch, Wellness Warrior, Perfect Styles Salon, Newport News, VA
• Noe Crespo, PhD, Associate Professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science, San Diego State University School of Public Health
• Michelee Lamb, Wellness Warrior, Hairport Barber and Beauty Studio of Cincinnati, OH
• Maria Lemus, Executive Director, Visión y Compromiso
• Stephanie McClure, Professor of Anthropology, The University of Alabama
• Rachel R. Pinuelas-Morineau, Community Engagement Director at SBCS, and Co-Chair of San Diego County Promotores Coalition
• Dorothy Reynolds, Wellness Warrior, Impressive Styles B&B and Elite Cutz Barbershop, Pine Bluff AK
• Stephen B. Thomas, Professor, Health Policy and Management and Director, Center for Health Equity, University of Maryland School of Public Health; Developer, Health Advocates In-Reach and Research (HAIR)
• Tina Thomas, Senior Project Lead, Partners in Health, AL