Meet three healthcare pros fighting against COVID disparity in Miami's Black community.
From left to right: Dr. Phyllis Rhymes Johnson, Dr. Cheryl Holder and Nurse Patrise Tyson in front of Faith Community Church.
Dr. Cheryl Holder is Interim Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity and Community Initiatives at Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, president of the James Wilson Bridges MD Medical Society, the local chapter of the country’s oldest Black medical society, and a doctor of internal medicine firmly planted at the frontlines of the fight against AIDS. She recently joined forces with two other healthcare leaders in their own rite—Phyllis Rhymes Johnson and Patrise Tyson, both officers of the Miami Chapter of the Black Nurses Association—to launch a unique initiative addressing the racial and ethnic disparities unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Funded by the Health Foundation of South Florida, which last year invested $1.5 million in local outreach efforts to address the inequities associated with the pandemic, their project, called Keeping The Faith, set out to bring COVID education, protective supplies like masks and hand sanitizers, testing and vaccine information to the Black community through faith-based institutions and houses of worship.

Lauded as innovative, Holder said their work is actually deeply rooted in history. “The evidence has long shown that any public health effort requires trusted messengers,” she said. “And if you’re looking for a trusted messenger in the Black community, you have to start by going to where the community has gone for hundreds of years in search of refuge: church.”

Read their full story on our website to learn about their moments of inspiration and challenges, what they discovered along the way, and how they're now gearing up to make sure the community has access to and embraces the COVID vaccine.
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