Community Partnership Dulls Pandemic Effect on Vulnerable

“UB, with the full complement of health sciences disciplines, has its nationally renowned medical and public health experts at the table working side by …

While Taylor’s urban planning expertise helped focus resources within neighborhoods, the infectious disease specialists in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences were in conversation with those coordinating neighborhood canvassing.

During the peak days of the pandemic, the partners helped 15 churches establish call centers and work in neighborhoods to find out what residents needed, to coordinate neighborhood testing, to distribute food and personal protective equipment and to provide transportation to health care facilities.

UB faculty helped facilitate communication campaigns, writing Facebook posts and op-ed articles to encourage people to wear masks and to practice social distancing.

“UB is an essential part of the system,” Taylor says, noting that none of the people who have boots on the ground are infectious disease specialists, but they could turn to Murphy and Alan J. Lesse, MD, associate professor of medicine and senior associate dean for medical curriculum, who are, to draw on their expertise.

“At the university, our job is to pull together scholars on this campus to bring the best minds together to find solutions,” Taylor says.

Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy in the Jacobs School, and a member of the African American Health Equity Task Force, says that the difference lies in how research at UB is being used to effect change.

“Rather than be a university that describes disparities, such as how long you live depends on where you live, we have to try to change it and to do that, we need to understand it,” she says.