COVID-19 vaccine

www.diverseeducation.com16 Diverse | February 4, 2021

A few hours a� er receiv-ing the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, president of Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), says she was “feeling great.” Rice, who says she has “a history of participating in clinical trials,” received her fi rst dose of the vaccine on Decem- ber 18 with CNN anchor Sanjay Gupta to raise awareness and public trust in the vaccine. Rice and MSM are part of a group of

higher ed professionals, doctors and public health experts known as the Black Coalition Against COVID, which is working to address community concerns and dispel misconceptions about the disease and the vaccine and to inspire trust in the medical

community around these issues to hopefully save Black lives. � is is no small feat. “Black folks’ mistrust in

the medical system really stems from enslavement,” s ay s D r. Ve r o n i c a Newton, an assistant professor of sociology at Georgia State University. She is working with a research team studying C OVID-1 9 res e arch participation in the Black community. From the gynecological

experiments conducted on enslaved African A m e r i c a n w o m e n without anesthesia, to the forced sterilization of Black women after emancipation as a form of social control, to the Tuskegee experiments

COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Veronica Newton

A Cultural Conundrum

Physicians are fighting against historic distrust and

misinformation in their quest to save African American

patients, who are dying from COVID-19 at disproportionally

high numbers.

By Autumn A. Arnett February 4, 2021 | Diverse 17

that withheld treatment for Syphilis from infected Black men, to even more recently not believing Black women and putting their lives at risk during childbirth, there has been systemic institutional violence against Black bodies by the medical community, Newton says. “I think it’s really important that we remember