Pastor George Nicholas

African American Health Equity Task Force

Calls for Immediate State, County, City Actions to Address COVID-19 Impact

on Already Compromised Erie County African American Population

The African American Health Equity Task Force (AAHETF) has announced the Task Force is pursuing immediate meetings with State, County and City leadership to discuss COVID-19 response recommendations aimed at  African Americans living in Erie County. The announcement was made by Task Force co-conveners Pastor George Nicholas, MDiv, Senior Pastor, Lincoln Memorial United Methodist, and Kinzer M. Pointer, MCM, Pastor, Agape Fellowship Baptist Church.

“In times of crisis, the everyday struggles of under-developed communities are only amplified. Over the last six years, the African American Health Equity Task Force has clearly documented the dramatic health disparities for African Americans living in Erie County,” said Pastor George Nicholas. “New York State and Erie County health data clearly demonstrate the higher prevalence of chronic diseases for this population as a result of the social determinants of health.  COVID-19 is already having a devastating impact on communities around the world.  With its emergence in Erie County, it is essential that the African-American community, who is already in the midst of a health crisis prior to this pandemic, be provided adequate attention and resources to prevent the spread of the virus in our community.”

In order to accomplish response and prevention goals, the African American Health Equity Task Force is calling for:

  • The development of an action plan to provide testing for COVID-19 in accessible facilities within the African American community, i.e. local vacant schools that are spacious and located within the community.
  • The inclusion of African American health professionals in the planning and execution of a testing and treatment program such as Dr. Willie Underwood, Dr. Raul Vazquez, Dr. Kenneth Gayles and others.
  • The development of a robust community public information campaign targeted at the African-American community to provide clear, accurate information on how to slow the spread of the virus, how to recognize the symptoms and what to do if you are ill.

“While this virus does not discriminate and will biologically attack everyone; the social determinants of health associated with past and current racial inequities make the African-American community especially vulnerable.  We want to make sure that a community that has been historically overlooked does not get left out during this very serious crisis,” said  Pastor Kinzer M. Pointer. “Finally, we are not seeking to hoard resources from other communities, but we do want to ensure that our community gets the proper attention and investment so that there is equity to safety and health in the City of Good Neighbors.”

About The African American Health Equity Task Force (AAHETF)

The African American Health Equity Task Force (AAHETF) was convened by Pastor George Nicholas, MDiv, Senior Pastor, Lincoln Memorial United Methodist, and Kinzer M. Pointer, MCM, Pastor, Agape Fellowship Baptist Church. The AAHETF’s vision is to eliminate race/ethnicity-based health disparities among African Americans in the City of Buffalo by addressing the social determinants of health. Through collaboration with its community partners, the AAHETF focuses on research, advocacy, policy, program development, community engagement, assessment, education, and consulting. https://www.buffalohealthequity.org/

About The Buffalo Center for Health Equity

In 2019, the AAHETF achieved a major goal with the establishment of the Buffalo Center for Health Equity https://www.buffalohealthequity.org/  to be the epicenter for research, community engagement, policy development, advocacy and neighborhood development, as well as programmatic initiatives that empower the community to achieve goals of ending health disparities in African American communities.

Willie Underwood, III, MD, MSc, MPH, FACS was named Executive Director of the Buffalo Center for Health Equity.

Click the following to read The Buffalo Center for Health Equity: Building a Culture of Health & Ending African American Health Disparities 2019 Report: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5e02325015c09a59a2d0355a/t/5e335ca58a2c1a258db47003/1580425685702/2019Report.pdf