It’s no secret that COVID-19 has been disproportionately impacting the Black community. However, pediatric surgeon, Ala Stanford, not only began to worry about the death toll of African Americans in the Philadelphia area, according to NPR, but she took action.
“In Philadelphia, African Americans represent 44 percent of the population, but at last check, 52 percent of the deaths, for me, that was unacceptable,” Stanford told NPR.
As a native of North Philly, Dr. Stanford heads a medical consulting firm and private practice in Jenkintown, PA. She is also on staff at Abington-Jefferson Health.
Dr. Stanford’s worries grew as the death toll continued to rise, and the myth that Black people were resistant to the COVID-19 virus continued to circulate throughout the Black community. She posted a video in an attempt to debunk the myth where she explains how the historical mistrust of the medical field should not deter Black communities from practicing safety guidelines such as proper handwashing and social distancing.
As Dr. Stanford began getting calls from family and friends who were worried about having the virus, she noticed those who did have doctor’s referrals to get tested were unable to utilize drive-through testing sites because they didn’t have a car.
The dilemma lead her to take matters into her own hands and rally troops to bring COVID-19 testing to those who didn’t have access.
“We put our supplies together and we went out to the community,” she said about the group of medical colleagues who had available testing kits.
From there, the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium was formed
According to NPR, the group is an extension of Stanford’s firm, an affiliation that consists of various Black doctors and churches in the area’s Black neighborhoods.
The group aims to go out every other day with a supply stocked van and make house calls as long as supplies last and test 200 people per day.
“We have more volunteers right now than test kits. We need the test kits, we need the PPE (personal protective equipment),” she said.
The group has a GoFundMe account set up and welcomes support. Although Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Einstein Medical Center, and the city’s health department have all expressed interest in partnering with the group, Dr. Stanford understands collaborations will take time.
“It takes time with systems and bureaucracy, I just couldn’t stand watching it on the news every day and not doing anything,” she said.