Birmingham, AL – The Charles Barkley Foundation is teaming up with a healthcare technology company to combat health disparities in the Black community due to Coronavirus. Today they are launching the Save Our Selves (S.O.S) Council, comprised of Black influencers, technologists, healthcare professionals, and policy makers concerned about the health of Black Americans.
The SOS Council is launching two initiatives today. One is a healthcare provider matching service for black consumers who may want to visit with a doctor remotely. The other is a nationwide online mobile survey at https://sos.synsormed.com/ to research information on the health and economic status of the Black community. The goal is for people to complete the survey as well as share it. A phase 2 effort in August will use this information to provide much-needed resources to black communities.
SynsorMed CEO Theodore Harvey says, “The survey is quick, and it asks general questions to find out if a person is categorized as an essential worker, was able to see a doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic, and if they’d like access to a doctor.”
“This has never been done before,” Harvey says, “This is the first nationwide survey that will collect true, accurate information regarding Black Americans’ health status, so that health care resources can be directed where they’re needed most.”
“The number of COVID-19 cases is still rising,” Harvey says, “And Blacks are being adversely affected, but we can do something if we act now.” The Racial Data Dashboard of the COVID Tracking Project indicates the death rate for Black Americans from COVID-19 is twice that of other racial groups. Additionally, in states including Georgia and South Carolina, 50% of all deaths from COVID-19 are of Black Americans.
“Juneteenth historically has been a Black American holiday that celebrates freedom from bondage,” Harvey says. “Given the current environment, we believe this is the perfect time to launch this initiative.”
‘I believe in this effort and believe it can make a difference,” says Charles Barkley.
The work is important because of the history of Black Americans being disproportionately impacted by diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illness. Harvey says those are not just health care matters. They are also economic matters, because the Black population has less access to adequate food sources and health care.
The pandemic, economic anxieties, and police brutality have devastated the black community in recent months. Additionally, recent data projections forecast a rise in COVID-19 cases in the next several weeks.
“With this data from the online survey, we hope to influence policy makers in expediting COVID-19 testing, mental health services, and clinical support to areas that need it the most,” says Harvey. “This effort will help the Black community receive resources they didn’t receive previously.”
“Instead of giving in to despair, we believe we can make a difference. We believe we have what we need in our own community to save ourselves.”