National Public Health Officials AND 100 Leading Black Clergy Convene on MLK Day to Confront COVID-19

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, one year after the last MLK Day saw the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States, Choose Healthy Life, led by Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Calvin O. Butts, III, will host the Choose Healthy Life Black Clergy Conclave, a convening of 100+ Black clergy, America’s leading public health officials, corporate and scientific leaders to step into the breach and address COVID-19 in the Black community as part of a national mobilization effort to boost testing and additional health resources. 

“Tragically, too many African Americans get their first test for COVID-19 when they’re getting admitted to the hospital, having missed the critical early window when some of the best treatments are most effective. We must elevate the importance of both testing and getting the word out about vaccination,” said Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the incoming Chair of the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force for the Biden-Harris administration. “The Black Church is among the most trusted institutions in the Black community which makes it an ideal venue to raise awareness and address health disparities,” added Nunez-Smith who will be addressing the Conclave on Monday.

When: The Choose Healthy Life Black Clergy Conclave will be held from 10:00 am ET to 11:30 am ET on January 18th, 2020.

You may view the event by visiting the Choose Healthy Life Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Choose-Healthy-Life-104447088162443/

What: Choose Healthy Life is hosting a Conclave of 100+ Black clergy, America’s leading public health officials, nonprofit and corporate leaders, like United Way of New York City and Quest Diagnostics, for panels and Q&As on COVID-19 in the Black community. The Conclave will also brief leaders on the Choose Healthy Life Action Plan — a sustainable, scalable and transferable approach to address health disparities by providing services such as COVID testing and vaccine education in five major US cities.

This Action Plan is being led by the Choose Healthy Life National Black Clergy Health Leadership Council, co-chaired by Rev. Sharpton (National Action Network, New York, N.Y.) and Rev. Butts (Abyssinian Baptist Church, New York, N.Y.), and includes council members Rev. Jacques DeGraff (Canaan Baptist Church of Christ, New York, N.Y.); Rev. David Jefferson(Metropolitan Baptist Church, Newark, N.J.); Rev. Horace Sheffield (New Destiny Christian Fellowship, Detroit, Mich.); Rev. Frank Tucker (First Baptist Church, Washington D.C.); and Rev. Raphael Warnock (Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga.). The Council has among its medical advisors Dr. Louis Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, former U.S. Congresswoman Dr. Donna Christensen, and Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies and former Director of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Key Attendees, Speakers and Panelists:

Rev. Calvin O. Butts, III, Co-Chair, Choose Healthy Life National Black Clergy Health Leadership Council, Abyssinian Baptist Church, New York City, New York 
Rev. Al Sharpton, Co-Chair, Choose Healthy Life National Black Clergy Health Leadership Council, National Action Network (NAN) 
Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, Co-Chair of President-elect Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board and incoming Chair of the Health Equity Task Force for the Biden-Harris administration 
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health 
Steve Rusckowski, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Quest Diagnostics 
Debra Fraser-Howze, Founder, Choose Healthy Life 
Sheena Wright, President and CEO, United Way of New York City 
Rev. Jacques DeGraff, Canaan Baptist Church of Christ, New York, N.Y. 
Rev. David Jefferson, Metropolitan Baptist Church, Newark, N.J. 
Rev. Horace Sheffield, New Destiny Christian Fellowship, Detroit, Mich. 
Rev. Frank Tucker, First Baptist Church, Washington D.C. 
Dr. Tom Frieden, President and Chief Executive Officer, Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies 
Dr. Louis Sullivan, Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Founding Dean, Morehouse School of Medicine 
Honorable Dr. Donna Christensen, Member of U.S. Congress (1997 to 2015) 
Dr. Wayne J. Riley, President, SUNY Downstate Health Services University, the Chair, Board of Trustees, New York Academy of Medicine and the former 10th President, Meharry Medical College 
Dr. Reed Tuckson
, Former Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs for UnitedHealth Group 
Dr. Nancy Messonier, Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases 
Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, President and Chief Executive Officer, Meharry Medical College