Health Policy Series: Black Communities, Medical Mistrust and COVID Response, with Alpha Abebe and Rhonda C. George

In this episode, we continue our conversation with Alpha Abebe and Rhonda C. George!  (Haven’t heard the first conversation yet? Listen here!) This time, we talk about Black communities’ response to COVID, and public health response to Black communities.


During a public health crisis is the exact wrong time to try and build relationships and trust with communities who have not historically been included in health policy decision making, and whose health and health care needs continued to be neglected. But this, of course, doesn’t mean that Black communities didn’t recognize both the real danger posed by COVID, or their own tenuous connection to mainstream health services. Alpha and Rhonda share how leaders of Black-led organizations rallied to address community needs during COVID, and discuss the importance of supporting Black communities to build capacity and resilience for the future. 


Alpha Abebe is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at McMaster University, and Rhonda C. George is a PhD candidate in Sociology at York University. They’re both researchers with the Public Engagement in Health Policy Project.

This series is supported by the Public Engagement in Health Policy project, which promotes research, critical reflection and dialogue about engagement issues that have a health and health policy focus. Learn more about this Future of Canada project at

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