February 13: Shelby County Disparities Team

SCHD Disparities Team

(Pictured: Nastassia Crump, Latisha Cole, Jerry Layden, Yolanda Wilson, Darra Wright, Nakya Young and Faisal Mohamed)

Shelby County Health Department is working to reduce the significant and long-standing health disparities that exist in our community.  With a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Shelby County Health Department has established its first-ever Health Disparities team. Its mission is to address inequities in health outcomes among populations that are higher risk and underserved, including racial and ethnic minority groups, unhoused individuals, and other stigmatized populations. The SCHD Health Disparities team is the first fully funded initiative in Shelby County designed to address health disparities among minorities.

The Health Disparities team is led by Manager Nastassia Crump who oversees the work of five Outreach Specialists: Latisha Cole, Jerry Layden, Yolanda Wilson, Darra Wright, Nakya Young, and one epidemiologist, Faisal Mohamed. Their work centers on nine zip codes in Shelby County where there are significant disparities in health outcomes among members of minority groups. Since it was established in 2021, the Health Disparities team has made valuable partnerships within communities in the targeted zip codes. They have been able to reach the most vulnerable populations to support COVID-19, influenza and mpox vaccination efforts and connect minority communities to governmental and non-profit resources.

Their community outreach work has allowed them to meet vulnerable populations where they are: everywhere from health fairs, farmers markets, cultural events, Pride events, sporting events and faith communities. Their work among African American, Latinx, Native and other vulnerable populations have advanced health literacy and helped to dispel misapprehensions and disinformation that lead to vaccine hesitancy and distrust of the health care system.