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COVID-19 Update

ECMC, African American Health Equity Task Force Announce Social Determinants of Health Program

$1.125M ECMC-provided funding enabling comprehensive ‘Emergency Outreach’ to Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Lackawanna African American and Latino Communities in 10 priority zip codes.


Buffalo, New York – Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation and the African American Health Equity Task Force (AAHETF) today announced the rollout out of a 12-week community outreach program that will provide comprehensive social, behavioral health and pastoral services, in addition to primary healthcare, to African Americans and Latinos residing in 10 Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Lackawanna zip codes including 14201, 14203, 14204, 14208, 14209, 14211, 14213, 14215, 14218 and 14305. The outreach effort is being funded by a $1.125M grant from the Erie County Medical Center Corporation to the AAHETF for a community-based healthcare initiative designed to support Buffalo’s vulnerable, at-risk residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to ECMC, the AAHETF and its Buffalo Center for Health Equity is being supported by a coalition of community partners including Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network (GBUAHN), Jericho Road Community Health Center, Rapha Family Wellness Center, Greater Buffalo United Ministries, Endeavor Health Services, Feed Buffalo, the African Heritage Food CO-OP and Goya Foods.

According to the program’s plan, community outreach representatives stationed at 15 churches located in the priority zip code areas will begin calling respective community members. During these discussions, community members contacted will be assessed for a host of social determinant of health needs including primary care, mental and behavioral health care, pastoral care and necessary food supplies. The resources will then be provided by respective coalition members.

The 12-week outreach effort will continue from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday – Friday through July 31, 2020.

Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., PhD, ECMC President and CEO said, ““The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionally affecting minority and economically challenged areas due to social determinants of health that have created underlining health conditions in these communities. In order to help address this crisis, ECMC is continuing to partner with the African American Health Equity Task Force. The strong leadership and vision from Reverends Pointer and Nicholas is why ECMC provided the funding for its establishment and why we are providing this funding today.”

Kinzer M. Pointer, MCM, Pastor, Agape Fellowship Baptist Church and Co-Convener of the African American Health Equity Task Force said, “This emergency outreach effort would not be possible without the support of leadership at the Erie County Medical Center Corporation and their determined diligence to work with New York State to resolve regulatory requirements with lightning speed. By allocating Medicaid program funds to a population, who was already in the midst of a health crisis prior to this pandemic, we will be able to provide immediate attention and resources in a focused effort to prevent the further spread of the virus in our community. Our objective is to canvas these communities with a wide lens to their interconnected social, pastoral and mental and behavioral health needs, as well as their immediate physical health needs. If an individual requires primary care, the church outreach representative will connect him or her with a Nurse Call Line staffed by team members from Dr. Raul Vazquez’s Urban Family Practice and G-Health Enterprises and Dr. Myron Glick’s team at Jericho Road. Overall, this is a comprehensive effort to mitigate the historic social determinants of health reality in our community and get people immediate support for what they need.”

Pastor Pointer serves as co-convener of the African American Health Equity Task Force with Pastor George Nicholas, MDiv, Senior Pastor, Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church.

Mayor Brown W. Brown said, “ECMC has always played an important role in providing healthcare services to the residents of Buffalo, particularly on the East Side where the hospital has existed for over 100 years, and I applaud the hospital’s leadership for their support of the African American Health Equity Task Force and for collaborating further with them on this vitally important program. And I also thank Pastor Pointer, Pastor Nicholas and their Task Force partners for their commitment to the health and well-being of their neighbors across the city.”

About The African American Health Equity Task Force (AAHETF): The African American Health Equity Task Force (AAHETF) was convened by Pastor George Nicholas, MDiv, Senior Pastor, Lincoln Memorial United Methodist, and Kinzer M. Pointer, MCM, Pastor, Agape Fellowship Baptist Church. The AAHETF’s vision is to eliminate race/ethnicity-based health disparities among African Americans in the City of Buffalo by addressing the social determinants of health. Through collaboration with its community partners, the AAHETF focuses on research, advocacy, policy, program development, community engagement, assessment, education, and consulting. https://www.buffalohealthequity.org/

About The Buffalo Center for Health Equity: In 2019, the AAHETF achieved a major goal with the establishment of the Buffalo Center for Health Equity https://www.buffalohealthequity.org/ to be the epicenter for research, community engagement, policy development, advocacy and neighborhood development, as well as programmatic initiatives that empower the community to achieve goals of ending health disparities in African American communities. Willie Underwood, III, MD, MSc, MPH, FACS was named Executive Director of the Buffalo Center for Health Equity. Click here to read The Buffalo Center for Health Equity: Building a Culture of Health & Ending African American Health Disparities 2019 Report

ABOUT ERIE COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER (ECMC) CORPORATION: The ECMC Corporation was established as a New York State Public Benefit Corporation and since 2004 has included an advanced academic medical center with 573 inpatient beds, on- and off-campus health centers, more than 30 outpatient specialty care services and Terrace View, a 390-bed long-term care facility. ECMC is Western New York’s only Level 1 Adult Trauma Center, as well as a regional center for burn care, behavioral health services, transplantation, medical oncology and head & neck cancer care, rehabilitation and a major teaching facility for the University at Buffalo. Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the university and/or members of a private practice plan. More Western New York residents are choosing ECMC for exceptional patient care and patient experiences—the difference between healthcare and true care™.



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