Racial and ethnic minorities, elderly individuals, those in underserved urban and rural areas, and members of other vulnerable groups are the most in need of the COVID-19 vaccine but face the greatest challenges to getting it. These individuals may lack resources to or be hesitant, confused, and/or skeptical of information about vaccine availability, safety, and efficacy. How can governments, the medical community, and community- and faith-based organizations reach them?

Trust and trustworthiness are a significant part of achieving equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. While policymakers, health care providers, pharmacies, and community-based organizations are working hard to build trust, there are challenges to doing so. Programs and policies that do not address population-specific needs and backgrounds, do not leverage trusted community resources, and do not share timely data transparently are common roadblocks.

In this web forum, speakers will address:

  • Issues related to building trust and trustworthiness between communities and those bringing vaccinations to the communities;
  • Successful strategies for reaching vaccine-hesitant communities;
  • How data can be used to ensure an equitable vaccine response;
  • How vaccine distribution strategies have evolved as supply increases; and
  • What we have learned about how to build stronger and lasting relationships between communities and public health in preparation for the next pandemic or natural disaster.

This one-hour discussion is the third in the web forum series Equity in COVID-19: Bridging the Gap Between Public Health and Policy, brought to you by the Public Health Institute and IMPAQ, an affiliate of the American Institutes for Research. The series explores “in-the-news" topics, such as mental health, housing and health outcomes, and environmental health and climate change, and provides actionable insights to address equity issues by translating research into policy and practice.


Bechara Choucair, MD, MS

Vaccinations Coordinator

White House COVID Response Team

Bechara Choucair, MD, is responsible for overseeing the national vaccination efforts under the Biden-Harris administration. He has been named White House COVID-19 Vaccinations Coordinator and focuses on coordinating the timely, safe, and equitable delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations for the U.S. population, in close partnership with relevant federal departments and agencies, as…

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James D. Gailliard

Senior Pastor

Word Tabernacle Church

  • Representative, North Carolina General Assembly ,

James David Gailliard is the senior pastor of Word Tabernacle Church, a mega-church serving thousands of families in North Carolina and Virginia. The church is housed in a 110,000 square foot former Home Depot building now called The Impact Center, providing a place for programs, partnerships, and paradigms that enable people to progress. He is the founder of The Reach…

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Jeffrey Reynoso, DrPH, MPH

Executive Director

Latino Coalition for a Healthy California

Jeffrey Reynoso, DrPH, is the executive director of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, the state’s leading policy organization advocating for health equity of the Latino community. In his role, he is responsible for strategic leadership and external relations, fundraising and financial management, organizational development of the staff and board,…

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Senator Mary K. Kunesh, MA


Minnesota Legislature

Senator Mary Kunesh served two terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives before coming to the Senate in 2021. She represents Senate District 41; serves on the Redistricting Committee and E-12 Committee; and is the DFL lead on the Mining and Forestry Committee. Kunesh was born in Saint Paul and raised in Sartell, Minnesota.…

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Mary Pittman, DrPH

President and CEO

Public Health Institute

Oakland, CA

Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, is chief executive officer and president of the Public Health Institute (PHI) in Oakland, California. A nationally recognized leader in improving community health, addressing health inequities among vulnerable people and promoting quality of care, Pittman became in 2008 PHI’s second CEO and president since its founding…

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Presentation Slides