Nonprofit Increases Testing Efforts For Black Community In Maryland


The coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately impacted the lives of Black people across the country. 

Several studies indicate that Black people are at higher risk for contracting the coronavirus, are more likely to have complications, and be hospitalized by it. 

The African American Health Program (AAHP) of Montgomery County, Maryland took the initiative to increase testing for Black people in the area. 

“We’re having the worst health outcomes than the other ethnic groups,” Beatrice Miller, AAHP Executive Committee co-chair told News4

“We want [Black people] to get tested,” she said, “You need to know your status.” 

For months, the AAHP coordinated local testing sites for the Montgomery community. They used $1 million in county funding to order personal protective equipment, medical staff, and testing supplies for the sites. 

They’ve partnered with local churches and other organizations to get the word out about the importance of testing, especially for Black people. 

“Sometimes we put our health on the back burner,” Miller said. 

“Sometimes we don’t really want to know,” Kimatni Rawlins said in an interview with the news outlet. Rawlins founded the Fit Fathers Foundation and is helping AAHP’s effort to increase testing. 

“Dating back to Tuskegee experiments, we have been very apprehensive of the medical field, so there’s a lot of mistrust here,” he said.

AAHP is also offering mental health services, food security help, and general wellness programming. The organization hopes to offset some of the pandemic’s effect on Black people in the community. 

They are set to run a testing site daily between now and the end of the year. 

Photo: Getty Images