Black churches become important centers for community COVID-19 information

Senior Pastor Darrick Granison of New Creations Ministries Church of God and Christ in Minneapolis and First Lady Brenda say it’s been helpful to be in partnership with Dr. LaPrincess Brewer, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic regarding COVID-19 health information.

“The Black church has been the centerpiece and is the institutional backbone of the African American community and it’s not only a place of salvation and refuge but it’s also a long-standing place of community outreach to its surrounding communities," Dr. Brewer says.

Dr. Brewer is leading research efforts that address COVID-19 disparities in cases and outcomes among African Americans.

She said, “We knew we had to act fast.”

Dr. Brewer says Black Americans are nearly three times more likely to die from COVID-19 because of factors, she said, such as inadequate access to quality healthcare, residing in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas and working in service sector occupations.

“We wanted to fulfill a need of emergency preparedness within the African American church,” Dr. Brewer said.

A needs assessment survey indicated, in part, that Black churches in Minnesota needed access to accurate COVID-19 health information, according to Dr. Brewer.

Dr. Brewer adds her research team is utilizing the FAITH! (Fostering African American Improvement in Total Health) Program to reach more than 12,000 church members from about 120 Black churches across the state, through its Facebook Page.

Full KSTP COVID-19 information

The Granisons said they’ve relied on that resource.

New Creations Ministry is doing everything they can to try and keep people safe during COVID-19 including hand sanitizer and a temperature check before the parishioners go into the sanctuary. The defog prior to services, clean services, offer masks and gloves, among many other safety measures.

Regarding a vaccine, 75% of research respondents said they didn’t want to take the vaccine or were unsure.

Brenda, who lost three relatives to COVID-19, said concerns include people with underlying health conditions.

“You’re thinking back and a lot of ancestors and older people are thinking about the Tuskegee experiment and there are other experiments that they’ve done on African Americans,” Brenda noted.

The Granisons pray the new health guidance from Dr. Brewer will help save their parishioners’ lives. They said they trust her, as a Black doctor.

“There is a power in building authentic and trusted relationships with underserved populations and leveraging established relationships with trustee institutions within these communities can make a difference and can help us support each other during this challenging and unprecedented time,” Dr. Brewer said.

More information regarding COVID-19 inequity and the efficacy of community-based COVID-19 partnerships can be found at the links here and here.