Panel members for "The Covid-19 Vaccine and the Black Community will include: (Clockwise from top left): Dr. William Hartman, Dr. Sheryl Henderson, Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, Aaron Perry, and Dr. Jasmine Zapata

A distinguished panel of doctors and public health experts will provide perspectives about the coronavirus vaccine as it relates to the Black community and beyond as the Overture Center continues its series of forums, this one is titled “The Covid-19 Vaccine and the Black Community,” which will take place Monday, March 29, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

“We’ve been doing a series of forums and we have been looking at this subject matter as a possibility for our forums and it turned out really well as far as the information that will be presented and the folks we have coming out to speak about the vaccine and the pandemic,” Dr. Ed Holmes, Sr. Vice President of Equity & Innovation, tells Madison365.

Dr. Ed Holmes

Holmes says that it’s pretty crazy how much things have changed since the Overture Center last hosted a forum on Feb. 24.

“I think people will see that things have progressed even in a month in terms of awareness and what is going on with the vaccine, but I still think it’s very vital and important information,” he adds.

The event will be pre-recorded and there will be a brief introduction before the panel experts get into the discussion. UW-Madison Professor Emerita Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, former Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education from UW-Madison, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, will serve as moderator for the distinguished panel of doctors and public health experts.

“Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings will be the moderator and she has been a mentor for me. She’s one of the people that can really help generate an engaging discussion with the medical professions and community-based health experts,” Holmes says. “We are really happy to have somebody like Gloria who can engage everybody at a high level.”

Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings (Photo by Marcus Miles)

Panel members for “The Covid-19 Vaccine and the Black Community” will include:

  • Aaron Perry, president & CEO of Rebalanced-Life and Wellness Association of Madison
  • Dr. Sheryl L. Henderson, MD, Ph.D., pediatric infectious disease specialist – UW School of Medicine and Public Health
  • Dr. Jasmine Zapata, MD, MPH assistant professor, researcher and educator in the UW Dept. of Pediatrics with an affiliation with the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research
  • Dr. William Hartman, MD, Ph.D., principal investigator for the UW COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Program (Adult and Pediatric Programs), principal investigator for the UW-Regeneron Monoclonal Antibody (Antispike) Clinical Trials, assistant professor of anesthesiology, School of Medicine and Public Health and medical director of UW Health Pre-Op Clinic – School of Medicine and Public Health

Ladson-Billings will show slides that give the history of the mistrust in the Black community and the medical field and why a significant number of Black Americans are skeptical of the health care industry in general. She will talk about how that distrust is one of the factors in the health care inequities we now see.

“It’s also a chance to point out the mistrust that exists. For people who are not part of the Black community and may not be aware of the history, it’s important to point out what the history is and why there is mistrust and why there continue to be some disparities,” Holmes says.

“When you look at the numbers, some of these disparities will be clearly pointed out in terms of the distribution of the vaccine and access and those types of things,” he adds. “While there has been historic mistrusts – and for good reason – there continue to be inequities and there continue to be disparities and I think that this is a way to identify what those are and break down some of the mistrust, but to also point out why it exists.”

“The Covid-19 Vaccine and the Black Community” is free and open to the public. However, registration is required.

“Anybody can register to take part in it. I hope that people enjoy the event and get the information that they are looking for,” Holmes says.