CBCF Announces Two-Part Health Equity Summit

Policy for the People Virtual Sessions Supported by Johnson & Johnson Services Inc.

February 16, 2021      

Dr. Erica Southerland

WASHINGTON—The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) today announces the next sessions in the “Policy for the People” Virtual Series. On February 18, beginning at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST, respectively, a two-part health equity summit will address the COVID-19 vaccine and mental health. The “Policy for the People” Virtual Summit Series provides attendees the opportunity to engage in in-depth discussion with subject-matter experts along with business leaders and members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Subjects are wide-reaching policy and social issues impacting the lives of Black Americans.

Part one of this summit, Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 Vaccines on the Black Community, will answer questions such as: who vaccines will protect, why should vaccines be trusted, and how will Black Americans overcome this pandemic, while providing personal and policy recommendations. On November 30, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Black people were 3.7 times more likely to be hospitalized and faced a 2.8 times higher mortality rate from COVID-19 compared to their white counterparts. As Black people face disproportionate rates of hospitalization and death by the coronavirus, it is imperative that Black communities are prioritized as vaccines are administered to the public. Invited speakers include: Rep. Robin Kelly, co-chair, Congressional Black Caucus Healthcare Task Force; Joy D. Calloway, interim CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York; Dr. Reed V. Tuckson, managing director of Tuckson Health Connections; Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, director, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, NIH; Quita Beeler Highsmith, chief diversity officer, Genentech; and Dr. Tabia Henry Akintobi, director of the Prevention Research Center, Morehouse School of Medicine.

Part two, Mental Health Realities for Black America will discuss ways the traumatic events of 2020 have influenced how Black people take care of their mental health. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic along with intense race relations and crippling economic instability has created many challenges, affecting the physical and mental health for people around the nation. For Black Americans particularly, these adversaries highlight major discrepancies and disparities among systems meant to serve and protect all people. Invited speakers include: Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, chair, Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Task Force on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health; Spirit, host of #LoveGoals and Licensed Professional Counselor; Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, licensed psychologist and founder and host, Therapy for Black Girls; Benjamin Calixte, co-founder,; and Courtney Billington, President, Neuroscience, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

Registration for this two-part health equity summit is free and open to the public. Visit: to register and learn more. The official hashtag for the CBCF “Policy for the People” Series is #PolicyforthePeople.


Established in 1976, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public policy, research and educational institute committed to advancing the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy and educating the public. For more information, follow @CBCFInc on Instagram and Twitter and visit


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