Hip Hop Public Health Reaches Communities With Music, Not Talk of “Herd Immunity”
COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy has become the new challenge in conquering the pandemic.
Getting vaccines into the arms of vulnerable populations, including underserved communities of color, is a priority despite systemic distrust of the medical field resulting from generations of disparities in health care.
“Medical institutions really have to find a way to speak the language of Black and Brown communities, which is why Hip Hop Public Health is perfect. It not only speaks to communities with love and music; it also makes an individual feel on par with the person who’s sharing that message,” says Victoria Benitez, associate vice president for Communications and Community Affairs for Columbia University and its affiliated health care facilities.
Hip Hop Public Health (HHPH) is a New York-based nonprofit organization serving as a collective of health and education professionals (including nutritionists, researchers, teachers, physicians, behavioral scientists, and a student advisory board), as well as socially conscious iconic rap and pop artists such as Doug E. Fresh, Chuck D, DMC of Run DMC, Ashanti, Jordin Sparks, plus children’s television writers and producers formerly with Sesame Street.
Together, they create scalable, highly engaging, culturally relevant music and multimedia “edutainment” tools designed to promote health equity, reduce incidence of preventable health conditions, and help today’s youth make healthy decisions.
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