Newly Launched Faith Health Alliance Aims to Increase Vaccination in African American Communities

Faith Health Alliance

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 5, 2021)—Today, National Minority Quality Forum’s Center for Sustainable Health Care and Equity (NMQF-SHC) announced that it will work with a network of pastors to launch the Faith Health Alliance — an effort to increase awareness of the benefits of COVID-19 and influenza vaccination in African American communities throughout the United States.

Respected faith leaders can lead to sustainable and accountable health outcomes in Black communities, said Dr. Laura Lee Hall, President of SHC.

“The Black church is a cornerstone of community health promotion and the flu vaccine is an easy way to begin and (sustain) health promotion in underserved communities with a goal to expand into a variety of health issues,” she said.

The Rev. Dr. Terris King and Bishop Dr. J. L. Carter, who are leading Faith Health Alliance, said African Americans have suffered vaccine disparities, COVID-19 infection and death, and other health inequities – through less knowledge and access, social and economic barriers and discrimination and bias in the health system. Pastors can play a pivotal role in closing these deadly gaps.

“The church is committed to spiritual and physical healing – we are spirit and body,” the Rev. Dr. Carter said.

The Rev. Dr. Terris King expanded, “The interrelatedness of health equity and faith is being renewed nationally by the Faith Health Alliance, organized first to fight COVID and the Flu in 10 cities through increased Immunization. Prayerfully, this is a new beginning in addressing what Dr. King declared: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman.”

Dr. Hall said she is deeply honored to be working with Bishop Carter and the Rev. Dr. King to launch this program, which will give African Americans access to life-saving information, trusted guidance, and a safe space to talk about their health concerns.

“We are working to empower the African American community to understand and promote their own health through vaccination,” Dr. Hall said.

The Faith Health Alliance will feature virtual and in-person events, focus groups with pastors, dissemination of materials on flu vaccination to parishioners, vaccination clinics, as well as communications support for faith leaders in their communities.

Participating churches and pastors include:

  • Pastor Hosie Hopkins
    New Hope Missionary Baptist Church
    Memphis, Tennessee 
  • Pastor Nicole Slater
    Payne Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church
    Birmingham, Alabama 
  • Pastor Charles McNeill
    Unity Baptist Church
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Pastor Thurmond Bowens
    Trinity Baptist Church
    Columbia, South Carolina
  • Pastor Joe Ratliff
    Brentwood Baptist Church
    Houston, Texas
  • Pastor William Foster
    Providence Baptist Church
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Pastor Eric Goode
    Peoples Baptist Church
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Bishop Leofric Thomas, Sr.
    Open Arms Community Church
    Jacksonville, Florida


This program is supported by funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NMQF’s SHC vaccine initiatives also receive support from Sanofi Pasteur.




Media Contact
Kelly Ann Collins
(202) 413-1187

About National Minority Quality Forum
The National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research and advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. The mission of NMQF is to reduce patient risk by assuring optimal care for all. NMQF’s vision is an American health services research, delivery and financing system whose operating principle is to reduce patient risk for amenable morbidity and mortality while improving quality of life. NMQF’s capabilities include federal and state policy analysis and advocacy; issue-specific alliance development; community-based provider quality improvement initiatives, and data analytics.

About Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether disease starts at home or abroad, is curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world. Learn more at