These Aurora Doctors Are Fighting Racial Inequities in Vaccine Distribution
As members of BIPOC communities still face barriers to getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado, pop-up clinics and other efforts have sought to promote equality in the vaccine distribution process. One ongoing clinic in Aurora has been particularly effective in reaching these communities — having provided around 2,000 shots in two months. Notably, this project isn’t run by the government or a medical facility. It’s managed completely by a local couple and their friends.
Dr. Cynthia Hazel, research manager at the OMNI Institute, and Dr. Kweku Hazel, a surgical fellow with UCHealth, have been on a years-long journey to bring important health information and resources to the Black community. Both originally from Ghana, Kweku moved to the U.S. as a high schooler and went on to attend medical school in Texas. While he was a med student, he noticed that members of the Black community often had questions and uncertainties about getting medical care due to their experiences with systemic racism. So he started a program to encourage his classmates to visit barbershops and salons in Black communities, where they could answer questions and hear more about the Black experience with medical care. Meanwhile, after studying public health policy in the UK, Cynthia worked for years to provide health education to the elderly population and rural women in Ghana, later moving to the Aurora area when she and Kweku got married in 2014.