A Wayne State University School of Medicine professor spoke at the White House on the importance of COVID-19 vaccines.
Rouba Ali-Fehmi, M.D., professor of Pathology and vice chair of the Department of Pathology, was a panelist at a July 21 White House Town Hall titled “White House Conversation: Building Vaccine Confidence in the Arab American Community.”
She was invited to speak by Bechara Choucair, M.D., vaccinations coordinator for the White House COVID Response Team. Dr. Choucair said the White House is hoping to promote best practices, including proactive outreach and education efforts to patients and local communities, social media outreach and videos, and partnerships with community and faith-based organizations.
In addition to speakers from the White House, Arab American physicians presented innovative approaches they are taking to build vaccine confidence among their patients and the Arab American communities in their area.
Dr. Ali-Fehmi spoke on the National Arab American Medical Association and its work in educating and promoting COVID-19 vaccine confidence. She also discussed factors that affect COVID-19 vaccine perception and attitude among Arab American health care professionals. She presented a study, ”Evaluation of COVID-19 Vaccine Attitudes Among Arab American Healthcare Professionals Living in the United States,” conducted by a team she led that included researchers from the WSU Department of Pathology, the WSU Global Health Research Collaborative, NAAMA NextGen, ACCESS and the Henry Ford Health System Infectious Diseases Department.
“I was so proud to represent NAAMA and WSU at the White House and share the work that we conducted at the School of Medicine and NAAMA,” Dr. Ali-Fehmi said. “It is our duty to educate the public and prompt vaccine confidence. It has become essential to address all the misinformation and stigma surrounding the vaccine, particularly in social media. By collaborating with multiple entities, we can make this happen. Reaching out to minority communities, who may have reduced access to health care, is very important.”