One of the key objectives of the Pinellas County Urban League has been to improve health outcomes for Black people and other people of color in Pinellas County through the elimination of longstanding health inequities. A renewed push toward this goal was launched last March with a Health Equity Listening Session hosted by the Urban League. Community stakeholders from the Tampa Bay region came together to collaborate, share ideas, and help shape the Urban League’s strategy to achieve its vision of being a helpful partner, impact creator, and trusted advocate in Pinellas County’s health and health care space. An important outcome of the listening session was the plan to publish a seminal report, “The State of Black Health in Pinellas County.” To be developed by The State of Black Health Task Force, comprised of a cross-section of stakeholders from the Tampa Bay area, the report is scheduled to be published by December 2021.
The Urban League’s Mobile Health Unit supports residents with limited access to healthcare by providing such services as screenings and education. While our focus is to address health equity concerns based on existing disparities, the onset of the coronavirus caused us to urgently pivot to the pandemic itself. We know that the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and Brown communities has been exacerbated by the very pre-existing health conditions and historic disparities the Urban League has been seeking to address.
During the COVID-19 epidemic the Urban League’s President & CEO, Rev. Watson L. Haynes, was appointed by St. Petersburg Mayor Richard Kriseman to serve on the Mayor’s advisory committee name “Restart St. Pete”.Advocating for policies and services that close the equality gap remains at the core of Pinellas County Urban League’s mission, a commitment that will be continued with vigor as we confront the immediate peril of COVID-19 and the disparities that have historically affected our community.