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Community collaboration addresses COVID disparities

Feb 19, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color, and data shows that fewer Black and LatinX people are getting vaccinated against COVID.

Michael Harley

To address this, Michael Harley, a member of 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend and director of student teaching and clinical practice at IU South Bend’s School of Education, took the initiative to connect The 100 to his colleagues at the Vera Z. Dwyer College of Health Sciences.

The 100 were interested in creating a COVID public service announcement specific for the needs of the Black community and looked to Dwyer College’s Inclusive Action Advisory Council for health expertise to develop the script and involve IU South Bend alumni in thePSA.

“This is an inspiring example of how IU South Bend can serve as a community catalyst,” said Chancellor Susan Elrod. “We are thrilled to lend our campus expertise and passion for equity to this important message.”

“Our collaboration demonstrates years of building relationships in our community and we are proud of recent grads for their participation and representation.,” said Dean Thom Fisher of Dwyer College. “It is important for our continued commitment to promote inclusion in the Titan community and in the surrounding health care systems.”

Dwyer alumnae Ashley Ojo and Kia Bolden are featured in the PSA. Ojo was recently accepted to IUPUI’s physical therapy doctorate program and Bolden works as a communicable disease investigator analyzing and managing COVID-19 data with the Centers for Disease Control Foundation in Indianapolis. Dr. Jenny Deranek and Ashley Kelver, MA, Dwyer College advisor, led the initial drafting of the script in partnership with Grass Roots Media.

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