PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium is getting $3 million in federal funding to help their efforts of bringing health care to some of Philadelphia’s most impoverished neighborhoods.
Dr. Ala Stanford started the consortium with the goal of getting COVID-19 testing to people who may not have access to it. They built an official relationship with the city, about three months after the pandemic began its dramatic spread.
Since then, the effects of their work have quickly spread throughout the city, going as far as 24-hour vax-a-thons to get people the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We have given over 55,000 vaccinations,” said Dr. Stanford, whose group began vaccinations 15 months ago. “We have tested nearly 30,000 people for COVID-19. We’ve been in the School District (of Philadelphia).”
Dr. Stanford’s efforts have brought the organization national attention and helped grow their mission to provide healthcare to those in need.
“In April 2020, no one knew who we were,” said Dr. Stanford.
“They didn’t know CNN would be looking at us. They didn’t know MSNBC would be calling. They didn’t know that the Surgeon General and [Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel] Levine would be calling us the national model.”
On Monday, the organization received $3 million in federal funds, with a presentation by Philadelphia-based House members Brendan Boyle and Dwight Evans.
Dr. Stanford said that money will help them when it comes to operating costs, but also to expand its reach.
“It’s also for renovation. It’s for electronic health records. It’s for outreach,” said Dr. Stanford. “It’s for keeping us working, so we don’t have to turn anyone away when they come, whether they have insurance or not. It’s so that we can get people into programs that they may not have known they were eligible for.”
Dr. Stanford added that they are also looking at expanding their facilities beyond their North Philadelphia location, by building a new facility on Germantown Avenue.
“Close to an elementary school, in the community. That is our model,” said Dr. Stanford, whose organization will celebrate two years next month.
“You have to bring expert care to the people.”