Fighting Against Historic Distrust and Misinformation To Save African American Patients

A few hours after receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, president of Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), says she was “feeling great.” Rice, who says she has “a history of participating in clinical trials,” received her first dose of the vaccine on December 18 with CNN anchor Sanjay Gupta to raise awareness and public trust in the vaccine.

Rice and MSM are part of a group of higher ed professionals, doctors and public health experts known as the Black Coalition Against COVID, which is working to address community concerns and dispel misconceptions about the disease and the vaccine and to inspire trust in the medical community around these issues to hopefully save Black lives.

This is no small feat.

“Black folks’ mistrust in the medical system really stems from enslavement,” says Dr. Veronica Newton, an assistant professor of sociology at Georgia State University. She is working with a research team studying COVID-19 research participation in the Black community.

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