Meet the Birmingham pastor bringing fire to health equity for the local community


Pastor Mike c Meet the Birmingham pastor bringing fire to health equity for the local community
Pastor Mike, Jr. preaching. (Pastor Mike, Jr.)

The COVID-19 pandemic came with a lot of difficult decisions. For some, vaccination was a no-brainer. For others, it required contemplating personal values, community and health. For many, the decision to vaccinate or not was a combination of both. UAB partnered with Acclinate to help bring awareness to the importance of vaccination with a compassionate approach. Together, they are working to share COVID stories from real community members through a campaign called Voices to Vaxx.

Hear from Pastor Mike about why he chose to get vaccinated

The COVID-19 pandemic may seem like a distant dream we’d all like to forget. But, the virus is likely here to stay, and there is still a lot to be done to increase research for better vaccines. Pastor Mike, Senior Pastor and Founder of Rock City Church in Birmingham, is one local who’s striving to boost these efforts.

“I believe in this moment, God has given us through doctors and through the medical field an ability and a chance to move forward to a new normal.”

Pastor Mike

Making informed health decisions

Pastor Mike Jr and kids Meet the Birmingham pastor bringing fire to health equity for the local community
Pastor Mike and his kids. (Pastor Mike, Jr.)

It’s a big decision, like many other health decisions – and for the Black community, a challenging one, given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the community, combined with distrust in the U.S. healthcare system. Birmingham-based healthcare technology company Acclinate is working to build affective (emotional) trust with the Black community and other communities of color so they can make informed decisions about their health. Through Acclinate’s digital platform called NOWINCLUDED, people of color can access health resources, share stories about their health, and have opportunities to learn about clinical research.

According to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, clinical research has historically relied almost exclusively on white male research participants, regardless of the people who are most affected by a particular disease. This chronic underrepresentation has led to gaps in knowledge about how diseases manifest in Black and other people of color, how they can prevent these diseases, and how safe or effective treatments for diseases are for them. Inversely, the same gaps have contributed to health disparities by making it harder for people of color to make well-informed decisions about their health, learn how to prevent diseases, and have access to treatments that are safe and effective for them.

A partnership with UAB

UAB campus. (Bham Now)

UAB has partnered with Acclinate to encourage Black people and other people of color to get vaccinated and share their personal stories behind why they did.

According to the CDC, roughly 2,115,960 Alabamians have completed the vaccine series making our state’s vaccination rate just 42.1%, one of the lowest in the country. Alabama CEAL at UAB takes an active and compassionate approach to make conversation about the importance of COVID-19 vaccine awareness. Together, UAB, Acclinate, and several other community partners are working to educate people across the state by sharing COVID stories from real community members in hopes to get more people vaccinated.

Head on over to their website to hear from real people across Alabama why the COVID-19 vaccine is important to them.

You can share your story, too

Many people are still deciding whether or not they want to be vaccinated. If you’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, Voices to Vaxx would love to know what motivated you to do so.

Upload a video to their website for a chance to be featured. Your story could impact someone’s decision.

Stay connected

Want to find resources you can trust for your health, a place to discuss your health with people who look like you, and opportunities to improve your health based on clinical research? Join Acclinate’s NOWINCLUDED community today.

To access local resources in Birmingham for your physical, mental, and financial wellbeing, check out B-INCLUDED.

You can also follow NOWINCLUDED on Instagram to stay up to date on events and resources for your health and follow Acclinate on LinkedIn to learn more about Acclinate’s work to bring health equity through inclusive research.

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Lauren Perry
Lauren Perry
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