METROFOCUS: March 16, 2021

As millions of New Yorkers race to book the vaccine, many Black Americans and Hispanics are opting out as racial disparity, a defining issue of the pandemic, has reemerged. Some communities blame the vaccination gap on a lack of a coordinated education, awareness and support. Tonight our Chasing the Dream initiative on poverty, justice and economic opportunity in America takes us to the Bronx and Brooklyn where local nonprofits and the medical community are teaming up to bridge this divide and provide accurate information about the vaccine and virus. Joining us to discuss these efforts are Davon Russell, President of the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation, Dr. Susana Morales, a primary care physician and Associate Professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and Marcella Tillett, Vice President of programs and partnerships at the Brooklyn Community Foundation, a nonprofit investing in the borough’s community led response to needs exacerbated by the pandemic.

 

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

THE JPB FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

THE RACE TO BOOK THEIR VACCINE APPOINTMENTS, A DEFINING ISSUE OF THE PANDEMIC, RACIAL DISPARITY IS REEMERGING.

ACCORDING TO A RECENT 'NEW YORK TIMES' STUDY, THE VACCINATION RATE FOR BLACK AMERICANS IS HALF THAT OF WHITE PEOPLE.

AND THE GAP FOR HISPANICS IS EVEN LARGER.

LOCAL NONPROFITS AND MEMBERS OF THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY ARE TRYING TO BRIDGE THIS DIVIDE AND DISSEMINATE ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT THE UNDERLYING VIRUS ITSELF.

TONIGHT AS PART OF OUR ONGOING CHASING THE DREAM INITIATIVE ON POVERTY AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA, WE'RE HIGHLIGHTING THESE EFFORTS IN NEW YORK CITY.

WE HAVE A COLLECTION OF FOLKS WHO ARE WORKING VERY HARD TO DO THAT.

WE WANT TO WELCOME THEM ALL INTO OUR CONVERSATION.

WE'RE JOINED TODAY BY FIRST DAVON RUSSELL, PRESIDENT OF THE WOMEN'S HOUSING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION A BRONX BASED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION THAT'S BEEN HOSTING VIRTUAL VACCINE EDUCATION WORKSHOPS.

DR. SUSANNA MORALES HELPING SPREAD ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINE THROUGH OTHER INITIATIVES ACROSS THE CITY.

WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY MARCELLA TILLETT, VICE PRESIDENT OF PROGRAMS AND PARTNERSHIPS AT THE BROOKLYN COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, A NONPROFIT INVESTING IN THE BOROUGH'S COMMUNITY-LED RESPONSE TO NEEDS EXACERBATED BY THE PANDEMIC.

WELCOME TO ALL OF YOU.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US HERE AT 'METROFOCUS.'

THANKS FOR HAVING US.

LET ME START WITH A BIGGER PICTURE QUESTION FOR YOU.

THEN WE'LL GET INTO THE DETAILS OF WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE AND WHAT ALL OF YOU ARE DOING HERE.

SO IN THE INTRODUCTION, I MENTIONED THE RACIAL DISPARITY.

WE'VE SEEN IT PLAYING OUT SIGNIFICANTLY THROUGHOUT THE TERM OF THE PANDEMIC HERE.

MY QUESTION TO YOU IS THIS, WE HAD HEARD FROM THE BEGINNING WHEN WE WERE TOLD ABOUT THIS VACCINE AND THIS MOVEMENT THAT WAS GOING TO BE IN PLACE TO MAKE SURE THAT, WE WERE TOLD, EVERYONE WHO WANTED ONE WOULD HAVE ACCESS TO A VACCINE AND THEY'D ALL GET VACCINATED IN A UNIFORM FASHION.

AND YET WE'RE SEEING ONCE AGAIN DESPITE THIS PROMISE THE RACIAL DISPARITY PLAYING OUT IN TERMS OF THE VACCINATION PROGRAM.

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?

DAVON, WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS AFTER ALL THE PROMISES OF HOW WE'RE GOING TO PUT THIS TOGETHER AND EVERYBODY WILL BE TAKEN CARE OF, WE SEE THE GAPS THAT I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION.

IT'S A VERY GOOD QUESTION AND ONE THAT I WRESTLE WITH ALL THE TIME.

GIVEN WHAT WE KNEW WAS COMING, WE KNEW THERE WAS GOING TO BE A VACCINE, SEVERAL VACCINES AND THEY WERE RIGHT ON THE HORIZON.

WHAT HAPPENED?

I THINK THE FIRST THING IS, YOU KNOW, THE URGENCY AROUND THE VACCINES THEMSELVES, YOU KNOW, MAKING THEM AND GETTING THEM OUT, FIGURING OUT HOW TO STORE THEM AND ALL THE LOGISTICS CONNECTED TO THAT REALLY TOOK UP A LOT OF SPACE, I BELIEVE, AND PEOPLE DIDN'T REALLY PAY MUCH ATTENTION TO WHAT IT WAS GOING TO TAKE TO GET THOSE VACCINES INTO THE ARMS OF PEOPLE.

FOR ME, THE FIRST PLACE I WENT TO WAS WHAT DO PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THE VACCINE.

THE EDUCATION BECAME FOR ME THE PRIMARY FOCUS, FOLLOWED CLOSELY BY HOW ACCESSIBLE THE VACCINES WERE GOING TO BE.

FOR ME IT WENT RIGHT TO THE HEART OF IT ALL, BECAUSE JUST LIKE THE DISEASE ITSELF, COVID, PEOPLE DIDN'T UNDERSTAND IT, PEOPLE DIDN'T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT IT.

SIMILARLY, I THINK, THE VACCINE IS JUST AS MUCH A MYSTERY TO A NUMBER OF THE PEOPLE WE WORK WITH.

SUSANNA AND MARCELLA, YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS ALSO.

SUSANNA, YOU FIRST.

I THINK THAT THE ISSUES ARE OBVIOUSLY COMPLICATED.

FIRST OF ALL, THE PRIOR FEDERAL ADMINISTRATION DID NOT REALLY APPARENTLY FOCUS AT ALL ON A PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN.

THEY FOCUSED MAINLY ON GETTING THE VACCINE OUT.

I THINK THAT LOCAL AND STATE PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITIES HAVE BEEN SOMEWHAT OVERWHELMED, HISTORICALLY UNDERFUNDED.

SO THAT A REALLY INTENSIVE PUBLIC EDUCATION EFFORT DID NOT REALLY START.

WE HOPED VACCINES WERE COMING.

WE DIDN'T KNOW WHEN THEY WOULD COME EXACTLY.

CERTAINLY A PRELIMINARY PLANNING EFFORT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER.

IN ADDITION, SO THERE'S ALL OF THAT AND SO I THINK WE'VE BEEN PLAYING CATCHUP IN THE PUBLIC EDUCATION REALM EVER SINCE THE VACCINES WERE DEPLOYED.

WHEN THE RUMORS STARTED THAT THEY WERE GOING TO COME OUT, I STARTED TO ASK MY PATIENTS WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS VACCINE THING?

MOST OF THEM SAID, IT'S TOO FAST AND I WANT TO LET SOMEBODY ELSE GET IT FIRST.

I PROMISED MY PATIENTS, I PROMISE YOU THAT I WILL DO THE RESEARCH, READ ALL ABOUT THESE VACCINES MYSELF BEFORE I RECOMMEND THEM TO YOU AND BEFORE I TAKE THEM MYSELF.

THAT IS WHEN I STARTED TO WORK ON THIS.

I GUESS THE OTHER PIECE, I THINK, IS THE REALLY TERRIBLE ROLLOUT THAT WAS VERY CLUMSY, WAS DIGITALLY BASED WHEN WE ARE STILL A VERY ANALOG WORLD, ESPECIALLY FOR LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES AND COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

SO ASSUMING THAT EVERYONE WOULD JUST JUMP ON TERRIBLY-BUILT WEBSITES WAS A MISTAKE.

MARCELLA, HOW ABOUT YOU?

GOSH, SO MUCH OF WHAT WAS JUST SHARED I'M RESONATING WITH ME AND I'M TAKING NOTES.

SOMETHING THAT YOU JUST SHARED, SUSANNA THAT I THINK IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO DIG INTO IS YOU HAVE A TRUSTED RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PATIENTS.

THEY CAME TO YOU WITH A CONCERN.

YOU MADE A COMMITMENT TO THEM TO GO BACK, DO THE RESEARCH.

YOU TOOK THEIR CONCERNS SERIOUSLY AND YOU'RE ENGAGING IN A CONVERSATION.

I THINK THERE'S A VERY IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PROVIDING EDUCATION, YOU KNOW, KIND OF MESSAGING AND DROPPING OFF INFORMATION AND WHAT HAPPENS INSIDE OF A TRUSTED RELATIONSHIP WITH A PROVIDER, WITH A COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION, WITH AN ENTITY THAT HAS BEEN WITH YOU NOT JUST THROUGH THE PANDEMIC BUT REALLY SHOWS UP IN YOUR LIFE IN A TRUSTED AND CARING WAY.

THAT IS NOT THE RELATIONSHIP THAT MOST PEOPLE IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR HAVE WITH THE MEDICAL INDUSTRY, WITH THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.

SO I THINK IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WHEN WE HAVE THESE CONVERSATIONS, WE DON'T PRETEND LIKE PEOPLE JUST EMERGED WITH NO HISTORY TO THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.

AND IT'S NOT JUST HISTORICAL, BUT WHEN YOU GO TO THE HOSPITAL TODAY, ARE YOU TREATED WITH THE KIND OF CARE AND RESPECT AND AFFIRMATION THAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR IN A TRUSTED MEDICAL PROVIDER.

I THINK ANOTHER PIECE THAT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT IS, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WHOLE PEOPLE WITH WHOLE HISTORIES.

A LOT OF THE MESSAGING IS ABOUT ARMS.

ARMS ARE CONNECTED TO BODIES.

THESE BODIES HAVE HISTORIES IN THIS CITY, IN THIS COUNTRY.

WE HAVE TO HAVE THIS COMPREHENSIVE CONVERSATION AND RESPECT THE CONCERNS, JUST LIKE SUSANNA HAS SAID SHE DOES WITH HER PATIENTS.

RESPECT THE REAL FEARS AND APPREHENSION AND DESIRE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND DESIRE FOR MORE TIME TO GET COMFORTABLE WITH THE IDEA THAT'S COMING FROM OUR COMMUNITY AND OURSELVES WITHIN OUR OWN FAMILIES.

I REALLY THINK WE NEED TO HAVE THAT BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION.

AND THAT TAKES TIME.

DAVON, WHAT WERE YOU HEARING?

SUSANNA TALKED ABOUT WHAT SHE WAS HEARING FROM HER PATIENTS AND MARCELLA I'LL COME TO YOU ABOUT THIS ALSO.

BUT DAVON, YOU FIRST.

WHAT WERE YOU HEARING INITIALLY WHEN YOU STARTED TO TALK TO PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY ABOUT THE NOTION OF, FIRST, THE VIRUS ITSELF AND WHAT IT MEANT AND HOW IT OCCURRED.

AND THEN THE IDEA OF THE VACCI VACCINATION.

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I STILL FIND MYSELF TALKING ABOUT WAS A YEAR AGO, YOU KNOW, VIRTUALLY TODAY WHEN WE KIND OF GOT A SENSE OF WHAT THIS VIRUS WAS DOING AND THERE WAS AN URGENCY TO CLOSE OUR OFFICES.

AND MY FIRST AND SINGULAR THOUGHT WAS, WE COULD BE A PETRI DISH AND THE SUBJECTS THAT WERE PART OF THIS REALLY HORRIBLE POTENTIAL EXPERIMENT WERE BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING IN OUR PLACE WHO ARE ON THE FRONT LINES BEING EXPOSED AND NO ONE IS TALKING TO THEM ABOUT WHAT THIS COULD MEAN.

SURE ENOUGH, THAT'S WHAT ENDED UP HAPPENING.

I WAS ON THE PHONE ALL SUMMER CONSOLING SPOUSES AND FAMILY MEMBERS OF OUR STAFF WHO LOST THEIR LIVES TO THIS DISEASE.

SO THAT WAS CRITICAL FOR ME.

LISTENING TO COMMUNITY, WHAT WE HEARD, AGAIN, WAS THERE'S A DISCONNECT BETWEEN THE FACTS AND THE REALITY OF WHAT THE DISEASE IS ALL ABOUT.

SIMILARLY, THAT TRENDED AND KIND OF BORE OUT WITH RESPECT TO THE VACCINE MARCELLA TALKED ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HEALTH CARE PROVISION AND PATIENTS IN A PLACE LIKE THE BRONX AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT IT IS.

THERE IS INSTITUTIONAL MISTRUST.

SO THAT'S YOUR STARTING PLACE.

THERE'S ONLY SO MUCH YOU CAN DO.

SO FOR ME IT WAS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE HAD THE RIGHT PEOPLE MESSAGING THIS.

SUSANNA IS THE PERFECT MESSENGER IN MY MIND.

THAT'S WHY I RECRUITED HER ONCE WE HAD HEARD ENOUGH.

THERE CAME POINT THAT WE HEARD ENOUGH THAT IT WAS 40% WI.

WE RAN A SURVEY OF OUR STAFF AND 40% OF THEM WERE REPORTING THAT THEY HAD, YOU KNOW, LITTLE TO NO INTEREST IN BEING VACCINATED.

THAT SIGNALLED TO ME RIGHT AWAY THAT IN ORDER FOR US TO BE AT THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE END OF T THIS, IT'S GOING TO BE RIGHT FOR THEM.

MARCELLA, IN TERMS OF YOUR CONVERSATIONS, YOUR COMMUNITIES, WHAT WERE YOU HEARING INITIALLY?

SIMILARLY, WE ENGAGED IN A PROCESS TO REALLY LISTEN AND GATHER INFORMATION.

THE BROOKLYN COMMUNITY FOUNDATION HAD A COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROCESS, A SERIES OF LISTENING SESSIONS WHERE WE TALKED TO HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE BETWEEN DECEMBER AND FEBRUARY IN TERMS OF THE VACCINES.

IT WASN'T JUST ABOUT VACCINES.

IT WAS ABOUT REALLY EVERYTHING THAT FOLKS ARE EXPERIENCING AND HOW THEY'D LIKE TO SEE US AS A FOUNDATION RESPOND.

BUT THE VACCINES CAME UP A NUMBER OF TIMES.

YOU KNOW, I THINK DAVON, WHAT YOU HEARD FROM YOUR STAFF AND SK COMMUNITY MEMBERS IN THE BRONX, WE WERE ALSO HEARING IN BROOKLYN THIS DESIRE TO WAIT AND SEE, THIS I THINK MISTRUST OF THE ACCURACY OF INFORMATION, THE DISORGANIZED NATURE OF THE DELIVERY OF THE INFORMATION NOT JUST ABOUT THE VACCINES, BUT -- AND THERE'S NO REAL BLAME TO BE PLACED HERE BECAUSE WE WERE RECEIVING IN SOME RESPECTS INFORMATION AS IT WAS BEING DISCOVERED, YOU KNOW, IF WE THINK ABOUT A YEAR AGO.

BUT TO HAVE THINGS CHANGE SO QUICKLY, WEAR A MASK, DON'T WEAR A MASK, WEAR A T-SHIRT OVER YOUR FACE, NO, WEAR AN N95 MASK, DO THIS, DO THAT.

SO WHEN YOU HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT PLUGGED INTO THE TELEVISION EVERY DAY AND NOT RECEIVING THIS MINUTE-TO-MINUTE UPDATE, IT JUST SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF CHAOTIC INFORMATION.

THAT HAS NOT STOPPED.

WHAT CONTINUES WITH THESE INTRACOMMUNAL CONVERSATIONS.

I THINK WE'RE HEARING A DESIRE TO HAVE SPACE TO TALK ABOUT THE FEELINGS THAT PEOPLE ARE HAVING, THE QUESTIONS THAT ARE COMING UP.

WHAT WE'VE HEARD IS A FEELING THAT THEIR CONCERNS ARE NOT BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY AND THEY'RE BEING DISMISSED.

IT'S NOT A SPACE WHERE THEY CAN ENGAGE.

IT'S EITHER YOU DO IT OR YOU DON'T.

AND IF YOU DON'T, THEN YOU'RE NOT TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY OR YOU'RE BEING IRRESPONSIBLE, YOU'RE A CONSPIRACY THEORIST.

IT'S COUNTER TO WHAT WE SAY WE WANT HEALTH CARE TO BE, WHICH IS ACCESSIBLE, WHICH MEANS PEOPLE NEED TO BE GIVEN THE INFORMATION, THE SPACE AND THE RESOURCES TO MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS ABOUT THEIR HEALTH.

THAT'S NOT THE PERSPECTIVE THAT THIS CONVERSATION IS HAPPENING FROM AND PEOPLE KNOW THAT AND THEY'RE EXPRESSING THAT.

YOU MAKE AN INTERESTING POINT ABOUT HOW WE REACT TO SOMEONE WHO SAYS, I DON'T THINK SO OR, I'M NOT SURE YET.

I FOUND MYSELF DOING THE SAME THING, SAYING, NO, NO, NO, YOU HAVE TO GET IT, THERE'S NO REASON FOR YOU NOT TO GET IT, JUST SORT OF THROWING IT INTO YOUR FACE RATHER THAN, AS YOU SAID, WHY DO YOU SAY THAT.

LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT'S BEING DONE NOW, ESPECIALLY WHAT ALL OF YOU WERE DOING.

DAVON, YOU SAID THAT'S WHY I BROUGHT SUSANNA, DR. MORALES INTO THIS.

WHY DID YOU THINK IT WAS IMPERATIVE TO GET SOMEBODY WITH HER BACKGROUND TO BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION YOU'RE HAVING WITH PEOPLE IN YOUR COMMUNITY?

WELL, TO BE FRANK, SOME OF THE MISTRUST, SOME OF WHAT PEOPLE EXPERIENCE WHEN THEY'RE SEEKING MEDICAL CARE WHEN THEY'RE IN THEIR PHYSICIAN'S OFFICES, THERE'S THAT REAL DISCONNECT.

WE KIND OF WISH THERE WERE MORE PEOPLE WHO WERE MADE IN OUR IMAGE WHO ARE PROVIDING CARE TO US.

AND WHETHER IT BEARS OUT TO BE TRUE OR NOT, WE CONNECT WITH THEM BASED ON THE FACT THAT THEY'RE SIMILAR, BASED ON THE FACT THAT THEY LOOK LIKE US.

FOR ME, SUSANNA REPRESENTS THE BRONX.

SHE'S A BRONX-BORN, BRONX-RAISED AND PROUD WOMAN WHO IS A PHYSICIAN AND WHO HAS DEDICATED HER LIFE TO PUBLIC MEDICINE IN A WAY THAT SIGNALS TO ME THAT SHE CARES ABOUT PEOPLE WHO NEED MEDICAL CARE, INCLUDING IN THIS CASE A VACCINE.

SO I KNEW THAT THE MESSENGER, LIKE I SAID BEFORE, WAS KEY TO GETTING PEOPLE THE RIGHT INFORMATION, GETTING PEOPLE LISTEN AND TRUST THE SOURCE OF THE INFORMATION AND OF COURSE ULTIMATELY THEY GET TO DECIDE WHAT THEY DO.

I JUST FELT THAT WE NEEDED TO HAVE NO ONE ELSE BUT SOMEONE WHO WAS BROWN, FEMALE AND CARING.

AND THAT'S WHAT LED ME TO HER.

ARE YOU FINDING, SUSANNA, YOU TALKED ABOUT THE CONVERSATIONS YOU'RE HAVING WITH YOUR PATIENTS.

I THINK WE'D LIKE TO THINK THAT IF YOU HEAR IT FROM YOUR DOCTOR, IT'S A DONE DEAL, I'M GOING TO DO IT.

ALL I NEED IS TO HAVE MY DOCTOR TELL ME.

YOU'RE ALL SHAKING YOUR HEAD.

SUSANNA, HOW IS THAT WORKING?

WHEN YOU SIT DOWN AND TOALK TO THEM ARE THEY SAYING, GOOD, SIGN ME UP?

BY YOU, I MEAN YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES IN THE MEDICAL WORLD.

ARE YOU SEEING THAT IT'S BECOME EFFECTIVE IN TERMS OF GETTING PEOPLE WHO WERE HESITANT TO SAY, OKAY, I'M GOING TO GET IN LINE NOW?

I'M EXPERIENCING A MIXTURE.

I MEAN, THE STATISTICS SHOW THAT IT'S YOUR PERSONAL PHYSICIAN'S RECOMMENDATION THAT IS MOST EFFECTIVE IN TERMS OF PEOPLE ACCEPTING VACCINES OVERALL.

BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT EVERYBODY OBEYS US, OF COURSE.

OBEDIENCE IS NOT REALLY THE GOAL.

THE DILEMMA, I FEEL PERSONALLY, IS I DO HAVE A SENSE OF URGENCY, WE ARE STILL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PANDEMIC.

I WAS ON THE INPATIENT WARDS IN THE SPRING TAKING CARE OF COVID PATIENTS, SENDING THEM TO THE ICU.

I HAD PATIENTS WHO DIED OF COVID.

I HAD COLLEAGUES WITH COVID.

THERE'S NO ONE IN OUR CITY UNTOUCHED BY COVID.

MANY OF OUR STAFF HAD COVID AND MANY, MANY, MANY OF US, OF COURSE, HAVE LOST LOVED ONES FROM COVID.

THIS IS A REAL, URGENT AND CURRENT PROBLEM.

SO THE DILEMMA I HAVE IS I DO HAVE THIS SENSE OF URGENCY, SO PART OF ME DOES FEEL LIKE, WAKE UP, BUT PART OF ME ALSO FEELS LIKE THAT MESSAGING -- I MEAN, YOU HAVE TO BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR MESSAGE.

I'M NOT NEUTRAL ABOUT THIS, BUT I ALSO THINK THAT THE KEY PIECE IS RESPECTS AND EVERYONE THINK.

I TALK TO INDIVIDUAL PATIENTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHER SETTINGS IS MY JOURNEY.

I THINK ALL OF US ARE UNDERGOING A JOURNEY.

SOME OF US, THE JOURNEY IS REACH SHORE.

MY MOTHER EVERY DAY WAS LIKE, WHEN AM I GETTING THE VACCINE?

SHE'S 86 YEARS OLD.

IT WAS HARD TO GET HER A JACKSON BECAUSE OF THIS CRAZY ROLLOUT.

BUT OTHER PEOPLE ARE STILL ON THEIR JOURNEY.

ONE OF THE INTERESTING ISSUES ABOUT THIS ISSUE OF VACCINE ACCEPTANCE IS THIS IS NOT ONLY AN ISSUE FOR MINORITY POPULATIONS.

IN FACT, THE BIGGEST VACCINE HESITANCY GROUP IN THE COUNTRY IS REPUBLICANS, RURAL PEOPLE.

A LOT OF HEALTH CARE WORKERS.

I DON'T KNOW WHY, BUT THAT SHOCKED ME THAT HEALTH CARE WORKERS WHO HAD BEEN ON THE FRONT LINES WERE STILL RELUCTANT.

THERE ARE MANY, MANY COMPONENTS TO THIS AROUND PARTISANSHIP, DISINFORMATION, FEAR.

I THINK THE REASONS DIFFER BY THE GROUP.

FOR MINORITY PEOPLE, A LOT OF THIS IS AROUND IT'S NOT NECESSARILY COMPLETE VACCINE REJECTION.

IT'S VACCINE HESITANCY, IT REALLY IS.

MOST PEOPLE ARE IN THE WAIT-AND SEE MODE.

I FEEL LIKE THE OTHER DILEMMA FOR ME, THOUGH, IS I'M HAVING PATIENTS EVERY DAY GETTING DIAGNOSED WITH COVID.

IT'S NOT OVER.

SO SIMULTANEOUS WITH MY DESIRE TO ACCOMPANY THEM ON THEIR JOURNEY IS THIS FEAR, BECAUSE I DON'T WANT ANYTHING TO HAPPEN TO THEM.

GO AHEAD.

TO KIND OF ROUND OUT YOUR QUESTION ABOUT WHAT WE'RE HEARING, WHAT I'M HEARING FROM PEOPLE BHOF WHO HAVE LISTENED T HAVE BEEN CONVERSATIONS WITH SUSANNA IS, WOW I JUST SPENT AN HOUR OR MORE WITH A DOCTOR, A DOCTOR WHO LOOKS LIKE ME, A DOCTOR WHO LISTENED AND BEHAVED IN A WAY THAT I'VE NEVER EXPERIENCED A DOCTOR BEFORE.

THE SESSIONS ARE ABOUT AN HOUR OR MORE.

SHE'S TAKING QUESTIONS AND THE QUESTIONS ARE FAR-REACHING AND INTERESTING.

THEY'RE SITTING THERE IN HER COMPANY.

THAT HAS MATTERED A TON TO PEOPLE IN THE FEEDBACK WE HAVE RECEIVED ABOUT THE SESSIONS SHE HAS LED.

MARCELLA, WHAT ABOUT YOU?

FINISH YOUR THOUGHT.

ONE OTHER THOUGHT.

WHEN YOU'RE WITH A PATIENT IN A ROOM, IT DOES TAKE TIME ONE ON ONE.

I'VE TAKEN SOMETIMES AN HOUR.

I HAVE A PATIENT WHO I MET WITH A COUPLE WEEKS AGO WHO I'VE HAD AS A PATIENT FOR A LONG TIME.

IT TOOK ME LIKE 15 YEARS TO CONVINCE HER TO GET A FLU SHOT.

FINALLY I TOLD HER THIS WAS LIKE MY CHRISTMAS PRESENT.

BUT I SPENT OVER AN HOUR TALKING WITH HER AND HER SON.

LUCKILY I HAD THE TIME THAT DAY AND WE TALKED FOR A REALLY LONG TIME AND SHE TOLD ME I AM SCARED.

I TOLD HER, YOU KNOW WHAT, YOU BIRTHED A CHILD, YOU SURVIVED CANCER, I KNOW YOU'RE BRAVE, I KNOW YOU CAN DO THIS.

AND SHE FINALLY SAID YES, BUT THAT IS A HARD THING TO DO EVERY DAY FOR HOURS AND HOURS AT A TIME, BUT THAT'S REALLY WHAT WE HAVE TO DO ON THE PERSONAL LEVEL AND THE GROUP LEVEL.

MARCELLA, HOW ABOUT YOU?

IN YOUR ORGANIZATION, IN YOUR COMMUNITY, WHAT ARE YOU ALL DOING TO GET PAST THIS BARRIER OF HESITANCY?

THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE SAYING I'M JUST NEVER GOING TO TAKE IT, BUT THERE'S A BIG CHUNK OF FOLKS WHO ARE SAYING, I DON'T KNOW, OR LET'S LET SOMEBODY GO FIRST FOR A WHILE AND I'LL SEE HOW IT ALL WORKS OUT.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN YOUR COMMUNITY AND IS IT EFFECTIVE?

I JUST WANT TO SAY SUSANNA I LOVE THIS FRAMING OF THE JOURNEY, BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT IT IS.

HOPEFULLY FOR COVID IT WON'T TAKE 15 YEARS, BUT RESPECTING WHERE PEOPLE ARE ON THAT PATH IS ESSENTIAL BECAUSE WE'RE TRYING TO, AGAIN, HELP PEOPLE MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS, UNDERSTAND THE IMPLICATIONS OF THOSE DECISIONS.

AT BROOKLYN COMMUNITY FOUNDATION SOMETHING THAT WE ARE DOING RIGHT NOW, WE'RE IN THE MIDST OF A GRANT MAKING PROCESS WHERE WE'VE PUT A CALLOUT TO COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS WHO ARE ON THE FRONT LINE VERY MUCH IN THE WAY DAVON DESCRIBES.

PEOPLE ARE COMING WITH THESE QUESTIONS, PEOPLE ARE COMING WITH THESE POINTS OF CONFUSION AND UNCERTAINTY.

A LOT OF TIMES COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS KNOW THEY ARE THE BEST MESSENGER, BUT THEY MAY NOT HAVE THE MESSAGE.

THEY ARE NOT MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS.

ON THE ONE HAND THEY KNOW THEY HAVE A CRITICAL ROLE TO PLAY, BUT THEY ALSO KNOW THEY ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE BEST EQUIPPED TO DELIVER THAT MESSAGE AND BE IN CONVERSATION.

SO UNDERSTANDING THEIR ROLE AS A BROKER, UNDERSTANDING THEIR ROLE AS A BRIDGE IS SO CRITICAL BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE TRUST IN THE RELATIONSHIP.

IF ONE OF OUR ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE ALEX HOUSE PROJECT, IF THEY BRING IN A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL TO SAY WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION, THEIR COMMUNITY MEMBERS ARE GOING TO LISTEN, BE PRESENT AND PARTICIPATE.

IT'S ABOUT HOW DO YOU BRING IN THAT RESOURCE, HOW DO YOU ENGAGE IN A WAY THAT RESPECTS WHERE PEOPLE ARE ON THE JOURNEY?

WE'RE IN THE PROCESS OF AWARDING ABOUT 25 GRANTS TO DIFFERENT COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS WHO WANT TO DO THAT WORK OF OUTREACH, ENGAGEMENT AND SUPPORT.

IT'S GOING TO DEPEND ON WHERE THOSE COMMUNITY MEMBERS ARE.

THEY MAY BE AT THE POINT WHERE THEY ARE STILL VERY HESITANT AND THEY WANT TO HAVE THOSE IN-DEPTH CONVERSATIONS.

HOW DO YOU CREATE THAT ENVIRONMENT WHERE THAT CAN TAKE PLACE?

YOU ALSO MAY HAVE PEOPLE LIKE SUSANNA'S MOTHER WHO'S LIKE, HELLO, I'M READY, BUT YOU HAVE THIS MASSIVE ISSUE OF NAVIGATION.

HOW DO YOU NAVIGATE THIS SYSTEM THAT SAYS IT'S DESIGNED TO BE ACCE ACCESSIBLE, BUT THERE ARE ROADBLOCKS LEFT AND RIGHT.

YOU NEED PEOPLE WHO ARE ENGAGED IN CASE MANAGEMENT AND SOCIAL SERVICES AND MAKING APPOINTMENTS IN THE MEDICAL SYSTEM FOR OTHER REASONS.

AS A FOUNDATION, OUR ROLE IS TO SUPPORT COMMUNITY MEMBERS THROUGH SUPPORTING THESE STRONG GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE BEST POSITIONED TO DO THIS WORK.

SUSANNA, JUMP IN.

WE FEEL THAT IT'S INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT THAT PHILANTHROPY IS INVOLVED, THESE PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS AND MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS AND MEDICAL PROVIDERS.

WE'VE BEEN WORKING NEAR PRESBYTERIAN AND CORNELL AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS.

THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH HAS CONVENED A GROUP OF PROVIDERS, SOME OF WHOM ARE MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL MEDICAL ASSOCIATION WHICH IS THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN PHYSICIAN GROUP AND THE NATIONAL HISPANIC PHYSICIAN GROUP TO TRY TO RAMP UP PROVIDER INVOLVEMENT AND PROVIDER INFORMING DOH ABOUT WHAT'S WORKING AND WHAT'S NOT WORKING ON THE GROUND.

THE ARTICLE THAT DAVON AND I WROTE, AND MAYBE YOU COULD TALK ABOUT THAT DAVON --

WE HAVE A MINUTE OR SO LEFT.

THE NEED FOR PUBLIC INVESTMENT.

DAVON, IF YOU COULD JUST MENTION THAT.

DAVON, YOU'VE GOT ABOUT A MEN.

I DID WANT TO TALK ABOUT YOUR MESSAGE.

WE FEEL THAT IT DOES NEED THAT INVESTMENT JUST LIKE THE MORE RECENT EXAMPLE IS WHAT WE DID WITH THE SECENSUS.

AT A TIME WE WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC, SO MUCH WAS OUT THERE.

WE SAW FOLKS WHO LOOK LIKE US TALKING ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CENSUS.

WHO'S THE AMBASSADOR FOR VACCINATIONS?

WHERE'S THE EDUCATION CAMPAIGN?

IT'S CRITICALLY IMPORTANT THAT CITY, STATE, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REALLY INVEST IN THIS TO REALLY GET TO PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO NEED IT.

WE COULD TALK FOR HOURS ABOUT THIS.

YOU'RE ALL DOING MARVELOUS WORK ALONG WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES DOING MARVELOUS WORK GETTING THE MESSAGE OUT TO THE PEOPLE IN THE WAY THAT IT NEEDS TO BE DONE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THE WORK YOU'RE DOING AND FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US HERE.

WE APPRECIATE IT.

YOU ALL STAY WELL AND KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK YOU'RE DOING.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

TAKE CARE NOW.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP LITTLE MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, AND THE ROBERT C.

AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

THE JPB FOUNDATION.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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