By Dena Vang
Real-world superheroes wear stethoscopes, scrubs and even suits — not capes. For the past two years, as the COVID-19 pandemic raged on, Black health care workers and leaders have served on the front lines to advocate for equitable health care and keep communities safe. In honor of Black History Month, Stay Well Community Health Fairs and the We Can Do This COVID-19 Public Education Campaign are recognizing six outstanding individuals for their dedication to protecting the health of Black Americans.
Dr. Samira Brown
Dr. Samira Brown is a board-certified primary care pediatrician. Her philosophy is that every child and family should receive high-quality, equitable care. Dr. Brown is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the National Medical Association. She has been listed as one of the Best Doctors in America® and has served as a medical expert on local and national media outlets including the TODAY show and NBC Nightly News.
Over the course of the pandemic, Dr. Brown co-founded Little Lives PPE to provide children and families with essentials such as face masks and shields. Dr. Brown has also advocated for children’s mental health and supported local Stay Well Community Health Fair events.
Dr. Nina Ford Johnson
Dr. Nina Ford Johnson is vice president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama and has served as president of the Mobile Medical Society from 2020-2021. She was featured in a national advertisement as part of the We Can Do This, public education campaign run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to strengthen COVID vaccine confidence in Black communities and increase vaccinations among Black children. Dr. Johnson has a passion for educating communities and ensuring they have the knowledge and tools they need to make decisions.
Dr. Eric Griggs
Dr. Eric Griggs is a New Orleans-based community medicine doctor and health educator who has dedicated his professional life to raising health and wellness awareness in communities around the world. He is an active participant in several organizations that promote positive community change. He is the health and wellness chair for 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans and serves on the board of 100 Black Men International Health and Wellness Committee.
Dr. Griggs played an instrumental role in educating and addressing new youth vaccination guidelines and recommendations and common COVID misconceptions through online webinars and youth-friendly cartoon videos.
Travis Jackson is the CEO and founder of HBCU Pride Nation, LLC. For more than a decade, HBCU Pride Nation has provided a positive social media platform to increase awareness of and enrollment at Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country.
Throughout the pandemic, Jackson has used his platform to share his testimony on why he chose to get vaccinated while also encouraging the HBCU community to protect themselves as they resume day-to-day activities and attend events.
Russ Parr’s career has evolved from stand-up comedian, to recording artist, to filmmaker, to top-rated, nationally-syndicated radio host. He hosts the “Russ Parr Morning Show,” heard weekdays by more than 3.2 million people in 45 U.S. cities. The show is nationally syndicated by Reach Media.
Parr has used his platform to provide educational and timely information about COVID vaccines to Black communities and amplify the voices of trusted Black health care professionals. Parr recently hosted the Stay Well Facebook Live series, discussing updates on COVID, flu season, how to stay safe and how to continue making vaccines accessible to Black communities.
Antrell Tyson, Esq.
In March 2022, Antrell Tyson was appointed to serve as regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Region IV. As a presidential appointee and the primary representative for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Regional Director Tyson provides executive leadership in Region IV. The Office of the Regional Director, based in Atlanta, is also tasked with intergovernmental and external affairs, which brings together federal, state, local and tribal governments, organizations, and private sector businesses. In his role, Regional Director Tyson is responsible for eight Southeastern states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as the region’s six federally-recognized Tribes.
Regional Director Tyson has been at the forefront of educating communities on the updated COVID vaccines and ensuring that vaccines and health resources are accessible to Black communities. He recently attended the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta and Florida Blue Florida Classic in Orlando to discuss the importance of health equity and COVID vaccine access.
To learn more about the Black History Month Health Care Heroes and upcoming Stay Well events and activations, visit StayWellHealthHub.com.