The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is pleased to announce a $10,000 grant to support the Shared Harvest Foundation’s myCovidMD initiative, which offers free COVID-19 testing in underserved and at-risk communities hardest hit by the pandemic.
“MyCovidMD is providing help to some of the most at-risk patient populations during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Ann Bruder, Associate Vice President for Programs at the Gold Foundation. “MyCovidMD is making sure that they can find this group, connect with them, and help them.”
The Gold grant will support myCovidMD’s mobile medical services and wherever the initiative’s need is greatest. Services include free onsite COVID-19 testing and food distribution in community pop-ups, as well as free telehealth appointments for medical and mental health services. MyCovidMD also offers patients the convenient option to have a community health worker come to their home.
“Bringing healthcare to people who have difficulty accessing such services is important at any time, but is critical during a pandemic,” said Ms. Bruder.
MyCovidMD grew out of the work of the Shared Harvest Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the
Shared Harvest Fund, a social enterprise that matches healthcare volunteers who have education debt with organizations and businesses in need of help. Volunteers with MyCovidMD are also eligible for this debt relief through Shared Harvest.
Shared Harvest Fund was founded by three Black female doctors, Dr. Nana Afoh-Manin, Dr. Joanne Moreau, and Dr. Briana Decuir. Drs. Afoh-Manin and Moreau are members of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, which recognizes leaders in humanism in healthcare.
MyCovidMD’s work is focused in the Los Angeles area – where Shared Harvest Fund is based – and the team also travels to meet urgent and emerging needs. For example, last week myCovidMD conducted a community testing pop-up in the Atlanta area to help manage COVID-19 spread during the special Senate run-off elections in Georgia.
“The coronavirus is a community-acquired infection that should have a community-centered response,” said Dr. NanaEfua Afoh-Manin on the organization’s website. “The myCovidMD Volunteer Taskforce is an example of a private-public sector collaboration … that delivers a grassroots virtual triaging system so that no person is left behind in getting the human support and care they need.”
Dr. Afoh-Manin, an emergency medicine doctor in Los Angeles, was recently featured on Episode 5 of the Amazon Original show Regular Heroes, which highlights people who are making an extraordinary impact on their communities during the pandemic.
The show shares that Dr. Afoh-Manin works the night shift (8 p.m. to 4 a.m.) in the emergency room, and since the start of myCovidMD, now works seven days a week.
“When we first launched, my colleagues and I put a couple of thousand [of dollars] together and just bought tests and started doing this for free,” Dr. Afoh-Manin said during the program. The donations followed and helped fuel the initiative’s growth.
“It’s not just about testing, it’s about creating comfort,” said Anika Jackson, then-Associate Executive Director of myCovidMD, during the Regular Heroes program.
That comfort and community-building piece is a large part of why the Gold Foundation wanted to support this important work, Ms. Bruder said.
“It’s this idea of staying connected to most at-risk people in our communities,” Ms. Bruder said. She added that it is central to humanism in medicine “that we see the person in front of us, and treat the whole patient and not just the disease.”
The Gold Foundation first funded Dr. Afoh-Manin’s work in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. Dr. Afoh-Manin then was a medical student at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. The Gold Foundation awarded Dr. Afoh-Manin and a team of fellow students a grant to travel to Gulfport, Biloxi and Waveland, Mississippi to help care for those hurt in the devastating hurricane, under the supervision of local physicians.
Ms. Bruder said it was inspiring to see that all these years later, Dr. Afoh-Manin “continues to demonstrate her deep compassion for those at greatest risk and use her skills to alleviate their suffering and illness.”
For more information, visit www.covidmd.org.