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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

'Black Men In Medicine' Town Hall Will Encourage COVID Vaccine, Answer Questions

Center for Closing the Health Gap

The Center for Closing the Health Gap is continuing its push to encourage Black, Hispanic and Latino/a peoples to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The agency is hosting a virtual town hall Saturday titled "Black Men in Medicine - Our Crisis in 2021."

CEO Renee Mahaffey Harris says four doctors will discuss vaccine safety and efficacy and answer questions.

"The town hall is really to talk about our current issues, to talk about the statistics relative to Black men," says Mahaffey Harris. "What the opportunity is, is to improve health outcomes for all people, but in particular raising greater awareness about Black mens health."

According to Ohio's COVID-19 dashboard, about 25% of Black and African American people in Hamilton County have had at least one shot. Almost 28% of the Hispanic and Latino/a population are inoculated.

Mahaffey Harris points to a reduction in the number of Black men entering the medical profession, so part of the goal is helping turn that statistic around.

"There is an effort locally as well as nationally ... to address the gaps in Black men in medicine that really relates to a person being able to see and relate and talk about their health with someone who looks like them," she says.

Panelists will take questions via Zoom and Facebook Live from 4-5 p.m. They include:

Information about how to participate can be found here.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.