During the Covid-19 Pandemic, mobile clinics brought vaccines to communities of color. Because of the success, the same framework could be used for other health inequity situations as well.
Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago all had success with large-scale vaccine clinics in communities impacted by the virus. Over 80% of those vaccinated in the mobile clinic efforts in Philadelphia and Boston identified as Black. Although the need for vaccine clinics is fading, the article suggests that the same framework can be used for other health conditions that affect communities of color disproportionately. This could be a big step forward in US health equity.
A major focus with mobile clinics should be education, and one health condition that needs attention is hypertension. As of a recent study, 11 million people are diagnosed, and it was found that there was a disproportionate rate of cases for people of color. When strategizing to educate disadvantaged communities, a lot of them don’t have trusted advocates they can relate to and trust about health information deficits (Although 13% of the US is Black, they only make up 5% of physicians). The article states that this was also a challenge for vaccines.
Due to the need for the Black community to get trusted information, at least one non-profit has started that connects the community to trusted Black health care personnel. Using this same framework for other health conditions could increase discussions around medical racism in communities of color, and further research on how it affects those communities in need.
The article also outlines their strategy for outreach opportunities such as text, call, face-to-face conversations and door-knocking efforts. This is to make people aware of upcoming free clinics and benefits of screening, talking to medical professionals, and education on health issues. On top of this, the volunteers and professionals should be of different backgrounds, races, and languages to encourage diversity. Research has shown that many minorities are more likely to receive treatment from professionals of the same race. Workers with many different backgrounds can increase the comfort and trust of these clinics in communities they visit.
It will take a lot of support financially and strategically from many stakeholders to covert vaccine efforts to target other health issues. However, the framework has proved successful for vaccines and should be replicated and advanced to raise health equity awareness and support disadvantaged communities around the US.