FLINT — The Community Foundation of Greater Flint (CFGF) announces the Greater Flint Coronavirus Taskforce on Racial Disparities, created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on African Americans and Latinos. The taskforce was formed in partnership with the Michigan State University Division of Public Health, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, City of Flint, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Hamilton Community Health Network, and Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.
Goals of the taskforce include equitable access to testing, treatment, and care to prevent further racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes. Equity-related goals include economic recovery for individuals, families, businesses and community organizations; economic re-start initiatives; and long-term management of post-COVID health disparities.
“The work of the task force is critically important,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley, who also helped bring statewide attention to the deadly impact of healthcare disparities when he was head of the Legislative Black Caucus while serving as a state representative. “A task force such as this will be able to help create a greater understanding of disparities, especially health disparities, being faced by populations in our city, county and state,” Mayor Neeley said.
Health disparities, poverty, and underlying health conditions within the African American and Latino populations magnify COVID-19 impact. In Flint, many residents live in multi-generational households, lack access to healthy food, and serve as essential workers on whom we depend on for our own food supply.
The Taskforce will identify concrete steps that can be taken now to mitigate the impact over the next 18-24 months before a COVID-19 vaccine is approved and readily available to the general public. In addition, the group will develop policy recommendations for governments, businesses, and philanthropic institutions to protect vulnerable populations and ensure an inclusive and equitable restart to the economy.
“Collectively, we are committed to lifting up the voices of those who are most vulnerable during this public health crisis,” said Isaiah Oliver, CFGF president and CEO. “By taking action now we can mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community.” — G.G.