As Black History Month comes to a close, I think it's also important to recognize local heroes who are helping the black community. Allow me to introduce to you Ala Stanford. Stanford is a Philadelphia doctor who became a light for many during the pandemic. During the COVID lockdown in March, Stanford recognized that COVID death rates were twice as high for black and brown Americans than white Americans.

According to People, Stanford recognized that many people she knew were being turned away COVID testing sites for reasons that didn’t make sense. Some were denied tests because they didn’t have a primary doctor or didn’t have a car to drive up to the testing sights. She recognized that the community needed help and decided to act on it.

Stanford formed the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium and ran pop-up clinics in the parking lot of black community churches. Stanford told People that she chose that name for a reason, "We were going into black neighborhoods and I wanted people to know that we, as black doctors, were coming to help you."

The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium tested 400 people per day and some days tested up to 900! Why did so many people turn out for these tests? Stanford offered the testing for free. Stanford told People, "It was unfathomable to me that someone could lose their life for something you'd pay for a nice dinner for two people."

Now, in addition to offering COVID tests, the Consortium also offers vaccinations. Since last March, the group has tested more than 23,000 and vaccinated more than 10,000 people. After COVID is over, her future plan is to build a health advocacy and healthy equity center. Philly native, Dr. Ala Stanford has definitely changed lives for the better in many black communities!

 

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.