The Lewis Museum wants to exemplify excellence in all we do. On Thursday, February 25, Kaiser Permanente and The Lewis held the second annual African Americans in Healthcare Awards. This most important and timely topic provided an opportunity for us to honor dedicated healthcare practitioners in a year when scientists and medical professionals have become our super-heroes.
COVID-19 has taken a tremendous toll on humanity, but it has been particularly harsh on communities of color. Issues of access, equity, and economics, presents barriers for black and brown people while providing an opportunity for the virus. The essential workers, the breadwinners of the family who don’t have the option to work from home, are now in this virus’s bullseye. Those vital workers that don’t have cars but must ride on public transportation to get to work have become targets for this virus. And low-wage workers who may live in multigenerational homes live in fear of exposing their elders to all the people they’ve come in contact with daily.
And now we have fear, doubt, and skepticism of the vaccine designed to protect us. All of this is based on a lack of credible information and a history of medical trials that lacked justice for Black people. Enter the African Americans in Healthcare Awards. In addition to honoring healthcare heroes and sheroes, we hosted a conversation between Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of UMBC, and Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett, an alumnus of UMBC and post-doctoral Research Fellow at NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC). Dr. Corbett, who goes by Kizzy, worked on the pre-clinical development of the mRNA-1273 vaccine against COVID-19, better known as the Moderna vaccine. In her interview, which is included at the link provided, Dr. Corbett provides the information we need to inform consumers of the COVID-19 vaccine. We hope you find this interview both exciting and informative.
Terri Lee Freeman