Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium receives a $25,000 donation on a frustrating day when it ran out of doses for a clinic
The donation came from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority on the final day of AKA’s North Atlantic Regional Conference, which was hosted virtually in Philadelphia the last few days.
On Sunday, Ala Stanford, founder of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, a volunteer group that is working seemingly nonstop to address disparities in pandemic health-care delivery suffered by the Black community, was at an all-day vaccination clinic in Montgomery County.
It ran out of vaccine doses, she said, by 8 a.m., leaving testing and educational efforts to take up the rest of the day.
At 6 p.m. Stanford, a pediatric surgeon, was outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the ceremonial reception of a $25,000 donation from members of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Stanford’s — and Vice President Kamala Harris’ — sorority. The AKA North Atlantic Regional Conference was hosted virtually the last few days in Philadelphia for the first time.
“We chose Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium [for the donation] because they took the initiative to fill a need when no one else did and served the community that was not being served,” said Mary Bentley LaMar, AKA’s North Atlantic regional director.
“Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. has as its mission and goals service to all mankind,” Stanford said, fresh from the clinic that the doctors group ran Sunday at the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Spring House.”It recognized our organization as one that’s been pivotal during the pandemic,”
How will the funds be used?
“It all makes a huge difference, in terms of buying personal protective equipment for our staff,” Stanford said. “Also, now that we’re doing vaccines, we have disposal of the [needles], so there’s waste disposal. We have grown now to have about 100 people on staff, so it pays salaries.”
The consortium also provides information, scheduling services, and critically important contact assistance — not everyone has access to a computer or cell phone, she said. People need to be informed and reminded of appointments.
There’s also “crowd management,” as Stanford calls it, to ensure that people waiting “don’t need to come in sooner and that no one’s having a health issue or emergency [or] that people don’t just need assistance.”
The doctors can’t be giving shots and helping people outside the clinic. “We have, you know, a lot of seniors that come, and they need assistance just to get into their seats, you know, helping get their layers of clothes off before they get their shots.”
“We have a private EMT company on site every time we do a vaccination clinic and, just to give you an idea, that costs $21,000 per week for that.”
But even with all that effort, the clinics also need adequate supplies of vaccine, which was not available Sunday in Spring House. Sunday’s 200 assigned doses didn’t even make it to midmorning at the clinic that was first come, first served for the elderly and high-risk patients, Stanford said.
One family set up a tent at 10 p.m. Saturday to make sure they headed up the line. The daughter had donated a kidney to her father and she knew, as a transplant patient, he was at high risk for COVID-19.
“They had been trying everywhere to get vaccinated,” said Stanford.
The family took turns sleeping in their car, but they had a sign with photos to mark their place.
“They wanted to make sure it was known that they were first in line, I mean it was really very touching speaking to her,” Stanford said. “They were all vaccinated today. It’s really beautiful.”
In addition to the Black Doctors Consortium, AKA presented $7,000 each to two other Philadelphia charitable organizations: the Chosen 300 Ministries, which serves the homeless, and No More Secrets Mind Body and Spirit, a sexuality awareness and counseling organization.