Peter Goldblum, PhD, MPH, Floyd Thompkins, Jr., MDiv, Tammy Lai, MBA, Lisa M. Brown, PhD, ABPP
The unprecendented global disruption caused by COVID-19 has exacerbated systemic inequities in healthcare, public health, socioeconomic status, and structural racism. How systematic inequities that are expressed at the intersection of human activities are addressed will influence whether we can control or stop the pandemic. Priotizing collaboration, equity, and investing financial and social capitol into community leadership is an essential part of mitigating and addressing both the short- and long-term repercussions of COVID-19. Through analysis of and evidence from the lived experiences of a national network of African American pastors, the authors recommend four strategies to expedite recovery from the pandemic and to promote enduring beneficial societal change: (1) public health and faith communities should initiate and maintain ongoing relationships that are based on trust; (2) recognition and acknowledgement by agencies and organizations that faith community leaders possess unique knowledge of their communities; (3) inclusion of faith community leaders as full partners when strategizing, decision-making, problem-solving, and policy development sessions occur that affect community wellbeing; and, (4) use of an intersecting approach that recognizes the multifactorial realities of COVID-19 and uses remedies that effectively address existing and new problems in a comprehensive, long-term manner.