WHO WE ARE

mission:

AARTH’S MISSION IS to increase the capacity of faith and health institutions to provide wellness and community care systems for people of African descent. 

VISION:

IN OUR VISION WE SEE African American (Black Descendants of Enslaved Africans) and African born people living healthier and longer lives supported by thriving self-sustaining and culturally centered community-based health networks.  We see adults and youth making informed decisions about their health and sexual practices.  We see individuals using their abilities to serve each other and participate in legislative processes that determine health care policies and funding.

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Our goals:
  • Increase the awareness and knowledge about health issues that disproportionately affect people of the African diaspora.

  • Promote self-affirming health practices

  • Strengthen the infrastructure of faith ministries and health organizations to provide culturally appropriate services.

WE VALUE:

AARTH Ministry was established to support the faith community by providing health and wellness services that strengthen and edify the body of Christ and people in general. The scope of our services for building capacity through education, access to resources, self-advocacy and compassionate service are governed by faith-centered principles and behaviors.  Our values are based on the Biblical principles of agape love, peace, compassion, integrity, power, wisdom, communication, and wholeness.  

We value health education and practices that empower African Americans to make wise decisions for maintaining physical and spiritual wellness.  (3 John 1:2)

Our approach to addressing issues is based on what is ethical and just, which may or may not align with traditional middle/moderate, liberal or conservative views.

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GUIDING PRINCIPLES:

AARTH recognizes that in health care, not everyone has the same chance of success. Some populations need certain advantages to succeed, due to historical systemic disenfranchisement. The work that AARTH embarks on tackles the questions of equity and social justice; working with organizations and health serving medical institutions to answer the questions of who the system does not work for, due to institutional and structural racism, and how can those barriers be removed through systems restructuring and individual intentional change.

AARTH approaches health equity and social justice work through an Afrocentric lens and works to approach issues from a holistic standpoint; assessing the whole person, which considers all factors that contribute to health inequities. Our Health Equity and Social Justice guidelines seeks to advance the capacity of local health institutions and nonprofit organizations to confront the root causes of inequity in care by evaluating their organizational culture, practices, and structure.

 

Our partnerships allow us to explore the root causes of why African Americans and other marginalized populations bear a disproportionate burden of disease and mortality. The training and capacity building we provide, allows institutions and their staff to understand how power structures and institutions generate inequitable treatment and care. We work collaboratively to design and inform strategies and policy that address inequitable practices. and outcomes. We understand that unequal distribution of money, power, and resources among communities of color contributes to health inequities and we work to reshape the practices that prevent equal access for equal opportunity.

  • Education cultivates better understanding and a desire to transform.

    • We strive to deliver the facts about health issues by presenting information in ways that are culturally relevant and respectful. This requires being aware of our audience’s social-cultural norms and tailoring the information we present to fit the audience and allowing them to interpret based on their values and beliefs. 

  • Access to resources increases the awareness and ability of people to receive needed services.

    • We work through collaborations, partnerships, and referrals to link individuals to health and faith services that appropriately address the needs of the whole person.

  • Self-Advocacy empowers people to take responsibility for their own health by being part of the decision making process.

    • We promote involvement and ownership in care, treatment, and prevention to improve one’s health and in the legislative and funding process for better services and resources.

  • Compassionate service creates opportunities for action and reconciliation.  

    • Our values, vision, mission, and work ethics demonstrate and promote non-judgmental attitudes and the establishment of safe spaces for healthy dialogue.  

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COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Statement

AARTH (African Americans Reach and Teach Health) Ministry was established in September 2002 to help address health disparities by providing social/behavioral health education and training capacity building services to faith, health and social service institutions that serve people of the African Diaspora. AARTH recognizes that in health care, not everyone has the same opportunities for success. History has taught us that due to systemic disenfranchisement, Black, Brown, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) experience multiple challenges in the pursuit of quality health care. The work that AARTH embarks on addresses these issues and the inequities that cause them. We seek to address inequities by working with a diverse community of funders, community partners, and health serving medical institutions to ensure equitable services for those for whom the system does not work due to institutional and structural racism.

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The impact of COVID-19 capitalizes on historical and existing institutional and structural racism, and determinates of health for Black and African Americans as well as other people of color. According to Public Health Seattle King County’s Public Health Insider publication (i):

  • Prevalence of COVID-19 cases: the proportion of COVID-19 cases among Whites has decreased, while the proportion of cases among communities of color has increased. Communities of color have higher rates of COVID-19 compared to White residents; 4-5 times higher among Hispanics/Latinx residents and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, 2-3 times higher among Black and American Indian/Alaskan Native residents, and 23% higher among Asian American residents.
     

  • Structural racism: Black and African Americans, in particular have historically experienced structural racism ranging from housing policies to discrimination in health care that places them at a higher disadvantage when facing for COVID-19 and having access to adequate services.
     

  • Underlying health conditions: People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease and severe obesity are considered at higher risk for COVID-19. In the neighborhoods where many Black, Native and Indigenous people, and people of color live, there are less resources that contribute to positive health outcomes such as access to healthy and affordable foods. This leads to higher prevalence of chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and severe obesity that place them at increased risk for severe COVID-19, and these disparities increase with age.
     

  • Zip codes matter: While cases are found throughout the county, there are higher rates in south Seattle and south King County, and smaller concentrations in north King County and a pocket in northeast King County. The locations of higher rates of cases generally overlay with where there are larger concentrations of communities of color.

 

The impact of COVID-19 presented AARTH with another opportunity to address the inequities and disparities experienced over the past year. The COVID-19 vaccination clinic collaboration represents one of our major initiatives, allowing AAARTH and partners to administer the vaccine with the primary focus on serving BIPOC and a specific focus on Black and African American residents of Seattle/King County.

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We join Public Health Seattle King County (PHSKC) and our community partners in the following strategy to provide services that are based on the principles of equity and social justice (ii).

  1. Removing barriers that deter access.

  2. Creating an inclusive process.

  3. Being intentionally anti-racist and accountable to Black, Brown, and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) communities.

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Our delivery priorities and methods are strategic and intentional. By working with our community partners, we:

  1. Focus on Highest Risk and Most Impacted: The data clearly support the need for making BIOPOC a priority as those among the highest risk and most impacted.

  2. Work with Community: Services in the community are most effective when done through partnerships and collaborations that include BIPOC. Develop a diverse collaboration of vaccine suppliers, faith partners, community organizations, volunteers, health institutions and funders with the same goals of offering vaccination services that are equitable and accessible for BIPOC.

  3. Make Registration Easy: Establish a culturally informed community accessible registration system that include technical support to ensure appointments to accommodate both digital and phone assistance could be made in one attempt.

  4. Make Vaccine Available in BIPOC Communities: Ensure appointment availability outside of regular business hours, including weekends and evenings. Work closely with community organizations to support pop-up clinics and to identify other points of delivery and providers that are known and trusted by community.

  5. Support Language Access: Work through community partners to ensure access to language appropriate print materials and interpreters to provide digital and phone registration support.

  6. Provide Vaccination Regardless of Immigration Status: Ensure that immigration status is not a barrier to receiving a vaccine.

  7. Support Transportation Access: Work through community partners to engage clients with free and accessible transportation to community vaccine clinic locations.

 

As of April AARTH, and partners have conducted 22 vaccination clinics and as shown in the attached chart, and we have served 4615 individuals, reflective of the diversity of our communities in King County. Reference the AARTH COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Summary for demographic details (iii).

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Collaboratives Partners: AARTH, New Beginnings Christian Fellowship Church, Fred Hutch, and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Central Area Senior Center, First AME Church, African American Health Board, Harborview Medical Center, Odessa Brown Clinic, Public Health Seattle King County/ Pandemic and Racism Community Advisory Group.  

 

To learn more about the Pandemic and Racism Community Advisory Group: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/community-faith-organizations/PARCAG.aspx

(i) New analysis shows pronounced racial inequities among COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths – PUBLIC HEALTH INSIDER

(ii) https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/~/media/depts/health/communicablediseases/documents/C19/king-county-principles-vaccine-delivery.ashx.

(iii) AARTH COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Summary

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