TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — CDC data shows that people of color are more likely to contract COVID and to have severe symptoms. The Dunbar Pavilion’s Health and Wellness program worked to combat those numbers in Tucson.
In 2019, Desiree Hammond helped jump-start the health and wellness program at the Dunbar Pavilion. Then, the pandemic hit.
“We know that the pandemic, COVID-19, disproportionately impacted the black community in a major way,” said Hammond, Program Manager of Dunbar Health and Wellness.
In response, the program launched online with health and wellness workshops twice a month. It’s goal: to build community and give medical support for people of color.
“Black people, indigenous people, people of color getting together to have impactful conversations, to share resources,” Hammond said.
The program educates communities of color on health issues and provides resources to get help.
“We’ve got to educate ourselves, we’ve got to ask questions," said Algurie Wilson, President of the Coalition for African American Health and Wellness. "We can't be pushed off dismissed. If I'm sitting there with a doctor and they don’t have time for me, it’s time for me to get another physician.”
Dunbar and the Coalition for African American Health and Wellness worked together to develop an Arizona Black Health Directory. It’s a database for people of color to find medical and non-medical black practitioners.
“Right now people come out of California and let us know they want to find an African American doctor because they feel they’re going to be heard, there will be more empathy, understanding, based on the commonality,” Wilson said.
The Dunbar Pavilion will soon create a physical space for communities of color to access medical resources in the future.
“I want to see a world in which all of us have access to what we need to thrive, not just survive, but to thrive,” Hammond said.
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