Virtual Town Hall: January 16, 2021 9:00 AM Pacific Time


The Minority Health Institute and UCLA BRITE Center for Science, Research and Policy invite you to attend a free, virtual town hall–with some of the nations’ premier COVID-19 experts and leaders of organizations, including historically Black institutions–to address facts, fears and myths pertaining to COVID-19 vaccination as we fight to protect and save Black lives.

This event was organized in partnership with Black doctors and scientists in the UCLA Health system, and co-chaired by Richard Allen Williams, MD, FACC, FAHA, FACP, Founder and President of the Minority Health Institute and Vickie M. Mays, PhD, MSPH. Dr. Mays is Director of the UCLA BRITE Center for Science, Research, and Policy; UCLA Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology; Distinguished Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health; and also Special Advisor to the Chancellor on Black Life.


We asked Dr. Mays about organizing this town hall, and she provided the following answers.


Why organize this town hall? 

The town hall was organized because a conversation is needed. While there is much talk about the availability of a vaccine, there’s a great need for education to move people to the point where they’re ready to be vaccinated.  We don’t have the luxury of waiting, and there are many individuals who will not make the appointment because of medical mistrust and historical experiences of not being cared for and valued within health care.


What do you hope will come from this town hall?
My greatest hope is that the people leave with facts and can make an informed decision.  In the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, information was kept from Black men that could have made a difference in their lives.  Now a vaccine is being offered, but individuals may keep themselves from a vaccine that could save their lives.  I want to make sure that the information is available so everyone knows the facts.


Is there anything else you’d like to add?  
UCLA is the top public institution of higher education. I want prospective students to know that there are faculty here who care deeply about the communities that our students come from. We want to use our knowledge and talents to be of service. And we want to lead with our science. 
In addition to Saturday’s town hall, we hope that you will participate in a UCLA Day of Service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day,  Monday, January 18th at 3 p.m. This involves talking with three people in your network, especially your family, about their questions about the vaccine, and share with them what you have learned.  As a part of this UCLA Day of Service, Dr. Briggs-Malonson will organize a group of Black physicians and scientists to answer questions that your family and network may have about the vaccine in general.  

We hope you’ll join these timely and important conversations!


Registration for the town hall:

Please visit for more information about Saturday’s town hall, and to see the list of program speakers/panelists.