Meet 6 Black female physicians, health advocates at the helm of the COVID-19 fight

A recent CNN article highlights six Black women on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic battle.

The six physicians and health advocates, as reported March 2.

1. Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD. Dr. Nunez Smith, an associate professor of internal medicine, public health and management at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., serves as chair of President Joe Biden's COVID-19 health equity task force. The task force will make recommendations to the president related to equitable allocation of pandemic resources and relief funds. It will also provide recommendations about outreach to underserved and minority populations, as well as other response and recovery efforts. During an interview published Feb. 22 by NBC News, she said her approach to addressing disparities includes disrupting the predictability of which communities will be hit hardest. 

2. Ala Stanford, MD. Dr. Stanford, a pediatric surgeon, is founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, an initiative of It Takes Philly, a nonprofit Philadelphia youth organization. The consortium focuses on education and advocacy for Black residents in communities hit hard by COVID-19. This includes a mobile COVID-19 testing and vaccination operation. Dr. Stanford told CNN more than 24,000 people have been tested and more than 16,000 people have been vaccinated through the consortium's efforts. 

3. Kizzmekia Corbett, PhD. Dr. Corbett is a research fellow and the scientific lead for the Coronavirus Vaccines and Immunopathogenesis team at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Vaccine Research Center. She is a viral immunologist and played a key role in the development of the Moderna shot. She told CNN in December: "It became clear to me that for every single thing that I've read in a textbook about science, someone had to discover that. And I wanted to be one of those people that for a line in a textbook, which hopefully mRNA-1273 [the Moderna vaccine] will be at some point, there's someone who discovered that thing and helped to drive that theory." 

4. Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD. Dr. Rice is president and dean of Morehouse School of Medicine, a historically Black medical school in Atlanta. In December, Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health and Morehouse School of Medicine announced a partnership for a 10-year, $100 million partnership to develop and train more Black physicians. Dr. Rice has also vaccinated Atlanta residents during the pandemic through an operation at Morehouse, CNN reported. She was vaccinated on CNN in December to promote the importance of vaccination, specifically to the Black community.

5. Michelle Nichols, MD. Dr. Nichols, a family medicine physician, is associate dean of Morehouse School of Medicine. She has worked with Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice to vaccinate Atlanta residents during the pandemic and has expressed her passion for health equity, according to CNN. The news channel reported that Morehouse had vaccinated 1,700 people by the end of January.  

6. Debra Fraser-Howze. Ms. Fraser-Howze is founder of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. During the pandemic, she has partnered with Black pastors to launch Choose Healthy Life, according to CNN. Choose Healthy Life aims to address the pandemic in the Black community on COVID-19 testing, care and contact-tracing.


More articles on leadership and management:
Children's Minnesota appoints most diverse board to date
Michigan hospital CEO remembered for his natural leadership abilities, honesty
4 former US surgeons general call for federal vaccine holiday 


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