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The University of Michigan’s Michigan Medicine holds 'Virtual Town Hall: COVID-19 and the African American Community'

The University of Michigan’s Michigan Medicine held a Virtual Town Hall to discuss COVID-19 and the African American Community.

The University of Michigan’s Michigan Medicine held a Virtual Town Hall to discuss COVID-19 and the African American Community.

The virtual event was sponsored by the Program of Multicultural Health in collaboration with the Ministerial Alliance of Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor and Vicinity, Messias Temple Church, and St. Joseph Mercy Hospitals (SJMHS) in Ann Arbor and Chelsea.

The event included a discussion between three panelists Kiela Samuels, Jessie Kimbrough, and Bishop Harry S. Grayson. They spoke of the history of the healthcare system in America for the African American community. While presenting academic facts base on the science and exploring the steps towards equitable and ethics in today’s healthcare.

Othelia Pryor, who was the moderator of the event, engaged participants by allowing them to submit anonymous questions for each panelist during the event. The panelists were able to discuss their own experiences with COVID-19, vaccines, and health disparities.

The first panelist of the virtual event was Bishop Harry S. Grayson, who is a Pastor of Messisa Temple Church. Grayson spoke of his own struggles with COVID-19, as he contracted the virus and became very ill.

“I personally am looking forward to taking the vaccine, COVID took somethings from me, but I am asking God to deliver me and restore my strength and my life and my ability to functions in my call. Everything happen so fast, I didn’t have a cold, no taste,” Grayson said. 

Next, Kiela Samuels, a Clinical Pharmacist for the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Michigan Medicine, informed the viewers about the COVID-19 vaccines. The presentation contained three sections an overview of vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine, and normal vs abnormal side effects.

Toward the end of the presentation, Samuels spoke of the state of Michigan’s vaccine development, her experience taking the vaccine, and her relation to it and her autoimmune disease, Lupus. Samuel received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines on Jan. 4, 2021.

“If the benefit is better than the risk then you take the vaccine and  I am so excited, I'm doing well. I just had a little arm pain, I’m so excited that I was able to share these little nuggets and information about the vaccine,” Samuels said.  

Jessie Kimbrough Marshall, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Division of Hospital Medicine Michigan Medicine, presented on COVID-19 and Racial Disparities. Kimbrough-Marshall discussed how the COVID-19 affects African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans Communities throughout America, including sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC), Michigan of Health and Human Services, and local county health departments of COVID-19 information.

At the end of the panel, there was a Question and Answer session for participants, who submitted questions electronically prior to the start of the event.

For more information regarding the program visit The University of Michigan’s Michigan Medicine’s Program of Multicultural Health website.