On this week's Townhall Tuesday: What Black Pittsburgh Needs to Know About COVID-19, panelist hosts Dr. Cheryl Hall-Russell of BW3, Dr. Jamil Bey of Urbankind, and Jaisir X of 1Hood Media interviewed assistant professor of epidemiology Dara Mendez of Pitt Public Health and actor, nurse, and COVID-19 survivor Charles Timbers.
Mendez talked about contact tracing and the importance of continued testing, particularly with regard to Allegheny County's transition to into the yellow phase and missing racial data. Researchers are working closely with multiple organizations to expand testing, including free and mobile testing.
When asked about whether it will really take 18 months to two years to develop a vaccine, and what we need to think about with regards to vaccine dissemination and cultural competency, Mendez said that while she is not involved in vaccine developement, that is the right estimation of time based on the processes that we use. As for the cultural competency around dissemination, "I do a lot of work around what we consider medical apartheid and mistrust of our systems because our systems have not treated us well." She talked about issues that already exist with regard to treatment of POC with regard to health and health care are just going to be exacerbated in the context of COVID-19. "It's critical that the people leading these trials are community-oriented and community-driven at every step of the process."
(Mendez joins at about 38:20 for 40 minutes of discussion.)
View video on Facebook Live or, visit the Facebook event page.
About the Townhall Tuesday series
1Hood Media and UrbanKind Institute discuss the current crisis's impacts and seek to provide resources and support for Black residents of Pittsburgh and Southwest Pennsylvania who are disproportionately impacted due to the existence of pre-existing medical conditions, failed policy initiatives, medical racism, economic mobility, and misinformation. The weekly virtual town hall is a moment to ask questions, share information, and continue discussions about COVID-19.