Collaboration In A Time of Need
Greg Hedgepeth, President and Editor-in-Chief of Substantial Magazine, says it best. “All too often, minority communities and underrepresented populations are last to receive the necessary information and communications during crisis.”
Recognizing that African-American communities are impacted by COVID-19 at higher rates, community organizations across Eastern NC came together to address the need head-on. “Delivering health care in Eastern North Carolina is particularly challenging,” says Dr. Mike Waldrum, CEO of Vidant Health. “We are faced with underserved populations and a high burden of disease … This has been true prior to COVID. Now, with COVID, these same structural issues lead to higher infection rates.”
“What keeps me up at night,” continues Dr. Waldrum, “are the structural issues that degrade the health and well-being of people, leading to health disparities.” Vidant Verified, a community-based partnership with Vidant Health, Substantial Magazine, NC CIVIL, and Walk West, was created to provide up-to-date, trustworthy COVID-19 health information and resources in a single, accessible website. “COVID-19 has amplified the distinctive gap in health care outcomes within underrepresented communities,” notes Jackie Ferguson, Director of Multicultural Programming at Walk West. This partnership “allows our capabilities and commitment to multicultural communication to be used to share life-saving information across diverse communities.”
Community organizations play a critical role in the Vidant Verified website. From Pastor Rodney Coles with The Churches Outreach Network, to Amexcan, to Mayor Brown of Bethel, NC – we have come together as a community during this time. Vidant Verified is actively working within the Eastern NC community to raise awareness around COVID-19 while also supporting community advocates and organizations like Jermaine McNair and NC CIVIL to create community connections through a socially distant virtual dance party and ongoing meal distributions.
Vidant Verified is an example of how we are stronger together. In it, we hope you find the support you need alongside the health information that keeps you safe – from instructions on how to wear a mask to the financial resources for additional support you may need, and everything in between. “The threat is on-going and how we will fare depends on how we have responded and how we will respond. My hope is that we will come together and face this challenge from our common humanity.” Mike Waldrum, CEO, Vidant Health
To our neighbors in Eastern North Carolina: Substantial Magazine and Vidant Verified are proud to be your partner during this time. Your stories of community, collaboration, and brave compassion empower us even in the time of COVID-19.
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