NRC Spotlight Profile: Dr. Ala Stanford

Dr. Ala Stanford is the founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, an education and advocacy based initiative to reduce the disproportionately high numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths in African American communities. In the early days of the pandemic, Dr. Stanford and a few colleagues were testing people for COVID-19 on the streets of Philadelphia in the back of a rented van. This operation quickly grew and became a campaign to provide free testing in neighborhoods where individuals would otherwise have no access to the service. This campaign, now the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, includes several doctors, nurses, and churches all working to provide free testing to their communities.

When asked what drove Stanford to mobilize the BDCC, she responded: “In Philadelphia, African Americans represent 44 percent of the population, but at last check, 52 percent of the deaths. For me, that was unacceptable.” The people she serves are working class and have little access to healthcare facilities that provide services like testing for COVID-19. Dr. Stanford and the Consortium have been vital to providing data on cases in Philadelphia, and how the pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color. BDCC is currently in the process of organizing a COVID-19 vaccine distribution throughout communities in Philadelphia. Stanford hopes the Consortium will inspire more community based initiatives to pop up around the country and hopes the sentiment of “I just couldn’t stand watching it on the news every day and not doing anything,” is shared.

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