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Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

UB-community partnership reducing COVID-19 deaths among African Americans

University credits collaboration with region being one of the few in the country seeing success over the course of the pandemic.
Credit: wgrz

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A partnership between the University at Buffalo Community Health Equity Research Institute and others is credited with helping reduce COVID-19 deaths among some of the region's most vulnerable citizens.

UB says the partnership between the Institute, the African American Health Equity Task Force and the Buffalo Center for Health Equity is credited with WNY being one of the few in the country reducing coronavirus death in the African American community.

“We may be the only community in the country that’s been able to mute the impact of this pandemic, and that’s directly attributable to the work we did with our university partners that started in previous years,” he said. “There is a real commitment to shoulder this together and not just watch people die," said Kinzer Pointer, pastor, Liberty Missionary Baptist Church and co-convener, African American Health Equity Task Force.

The group also says their on-going work and success they've had so far puts them in a better position to take on whatever challenges lie ahead later this fall and winter.

 “The fact that this community-university partnership was able to mitigate the high mortality among African Americans in the first wave puts us in a position to build on that achievement during this coming flu season and a possible second wave,” said Tim Murphy, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB and director of the Community Health Equity Research Institute and UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute  “And it’s something that can be replicated in other communities." 

Going forward, the Institute's agenda includes looking deeper into what makes African American communities more vulnerable, including the high proportion of essential workers, multi-generational households, and households where self-isolation is difficult or impossible.

“We are aware that the coming fall and winter will present new challenges, but together with our partners, we are confident that our experience so far provides this community with a strong foundation going forward,” said Murphy.