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Power Moves: Health Foundation of SoFL supports vaccinations in underserved communities

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Underserved communities have suffered enormous damage from the COVID-19 pandemic, and Health Foundation of South Florida is on a mission to address such challenges. The organization aims to invest in and be a catalyst for collaborations, policy and system changes that improve the health of South Florida communities. The focus is on vulnerable, low- to moderate-income populations. That takes us to Ft. Lauderdale.

COVID-19 has wrecked havoc on our economy and devastated communities, especially underserved communities of color where losses have been the greatest. In this segment we go to historic Sistrunk Boulevard near downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida where a group of solutions providers came together as partners to deliver vaccinations in a pop-up event. The Health Foundation of South Florida supported the Mount Olive Baptist Church Foundation for the event that included participation from U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz who represents district 23 in Washington D.C.

Vaccination Pop-Up: taking the fight to COVID-19

The pop-up event was a powerful first step in gaining trust around the vaccination process. The leaders on the ground, including Dr. Rosalind Osgood (pictured at left) heads the Mt. Olive Development Corporation on Sistrunk Blvd. She underscored the hesitation that many in the black community have, based on a fundamental lack of trust towards the government and the medical community. This lack of trust stems from historical trauma that black citizens have endured for centuries. Still, the medical experts, researchers and scientists continue to build momentum around efforts to address the issue head-on with medical facts, up to date research data, and advanced science. Even so, it is a hard sell getting that message across when so many in the Black community and beyond continue to share their lack of trust on social media and within day-to-day conversations.

The Health Foundation of South Florida's website notes that South Florida has one of the highest incidence rates of uninsured residents in the United States. In Miami-Dade 33% adults between the ages of 19 and 64 are employed but do not have health insurance, a number that dips to 19 percent in Broward.

This is particularly true among low-income, Black and Hispanic residents. Despite improvements made in the last couple of years, largely associated with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), recent trends show an uptick in South Florida uninsured rates.

In spite of the current national health care situation, community leaders are stepping up and taking control of the situation to ensure that people in need within the community have the tools they need to navigate crisis. The Health Foundation of SoFL is one shining example but there are many more across the nation holding communities together through extending a helping hand in times of need.

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