In Conversation: Lash Nolen on Health Inequities, Vaccines, and Nurturing Community Trust In Conversation: Lash Nolen on Health Inequities, Vaccines, and Nurturing Community Trust

August 3, 2021

In this conversation with Lash Nolen, we talk about the impact of Covid-19 on essential workers and discuss how community-informed and led efforts to improve health inequities can lead to real and lasting impacts on the ground.

Invested In Conversation brings us together with those seeing first-hand how community issues are playing out on the ground. In this series, our guests speak from their own experience, lift up their communities’ grassroots solutions, and share their ideas for building and bolstering a more equitable and resilient region.

Gabriella Chiarenza is managing editor for Invested and Regional and Community Outreach at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Over this past pandemic year, we’ve seen clear evidence of Covid-19’s devastating and disproportionate toll on communities lacking access to regular preventative health care—many of them communities of color. Essential workers living in these communities and serving others around our region have been at substantial risk, and they and their neighbors often faced this threat without proper information or protective gear. We took an in-depth look at some of these issues in our October 2020 Invested feature. Now, we speak with LaShyra “Lash” Nolen to continue the conversation.

Nolen is a medical student and the president of her Harvard Medical School class, the first documented Black woman to hold that position. Her vision for a more equitable future of health care centers on community-informed care and an interdisciplinary approach to the health inequities that communities of color and lower-income communities face. She is among those leading the call for changes in our systems of care to directly address the racism and inequities that impact our communities, our workforce, and our economy. Her initiative We Got Us is a prime example of this leadership. It is a thoughtful and proactive approach to sharing accurate, culturally-sensitive information about the Covid-19 vaccine with communities of color. In this conversation, we ask: What can we learn from the impacts of this pandemic about the underlying root causes of deep health inequities in our communities? And how can the systems that influence health outcomes change to better serve and support these communities?

The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston or the Federal Reserve System. Information about organizations, programs, and events is strictly informational and not an endorsement.

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