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Sentara RMH hosts virtual panel discussion on COVID-19 vaccine in African-American community

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 8:46 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Sentara RMH hosted a virtual seminar on Tuesday afternoon regarding the COVID-19 vaccine in the African-American community.

The event featured community leaders and health experts as vaccinations become more available.

The panel featured Dr. Janice Underwood, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for Governor Ralph Northam; Dr. Ebony Jade Hilton with Anesthesiology and Critical Care at UVA Medicine; James Colbert, a surgical tech at Sentara RMH Medical Center; Dana Beckton, Chief Diversity Officer for Sentara Health; Winnette Dickerson, a community representative; and Mayor Deanna Reed of the City of Harrisonburg.

The group spoke about challenges accessing healthcare during the pandemic. They also discussed concerns people have about accessing the vaccine, as well as its side effects.

They tackled the myths on the vaccine and worked to create awareness and help meet the needs of the African-American and Hispanic communities in the area.

“We need to talk about the many times in our history when people of color have been haunted by racist systems embedded within the health system,” Reed said. “But, acknowledging those together, we can build that trust. That trust is needed to make sure the vaccine is not only accessible to the black community but that the black community feels safe enough to receive it.”

To view more of Dr. Underwood’s work, you can visit here.

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