Black and Well in the LBC

Reaching Older Black Adults Through Faith-Based Mobile Clinic Partnerships

Early on in the pandemic, the City of Long Beach (the City) Health Department was acutely aware of the disparate impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic was having on low-income communities and communities of color throughout the City, especially Black, Latinx, and Cambodian communities. Moreover, early COVID-19 vaccination data revealed that the hardest hit communities were not getting vaccinated at the same rates as less impacted communities. In an effort to ensure more equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, the City has launched a series of partnerships with community-based organizations to host mobile vaccination clinics aimed at reaching Black, Latinx and Cambodian community members.

“Black and Well in the LBC” was a one-day mobile vaccination clinic held on Wednesday, February 10th, hosted in partnership with the City, the Long Beach Health Department, community-based non-profit Elite Skills Development and The Long Beach Minister’s Alliance. The vaccination event was held in Central Long Beach, a historically Black community, with a goal of reaching older Black Long Beach residents. The creation of this culturally affirming space, with trusted community partners in the lead, resulted in setting up vaccination appointments for 200 people, of which approximately 95% identified as Black or African American.

Key Partners

  • The City of Long Beach – Katie Balderas, Equity Officer
  • Elite Skills Development – Sharon Diggs-Jackson
  • Long Beach Minister’s Alliance & Pastor Gregory Sanders
  • St. Mark Baptist Church

Key Funding Mechanisms

  • City of Long Beach Black Health Equity Fund
  • Together Toward Health


  • Weekly COVID-19 vaccine equity meetings built a foundation of trust between the City and community groups.
  • When presented with the opportunity to distribute 200 doses of the vaccine, the City was quickly able to partner with the Long Beach Minister’s Alliance and Elite Skills Development, who had been attending the weekly calls.
  • The community groups took the lead and were the outward facing partners of the mobile vaccination clinic. The City public health emergency management team assisted in handling logistics, including making appointments, answering questions, and conducting a site visit to ensure the proposed location of the mobile vaccination clinic worked.
  • Two phone numbers were distributed and key contacts fielded the calls so that only local seniors could make appointments to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
    Church groups and pastors served as trusted messengers; pastors were on site volunteering, receiving vaccinations (when eligible), and sharing their experience getting the vaccine with their community members.
  • Community groups focused on creating a culturally affirming space, including inviting medical volunteers that represented the Black community, anticipating that seniors would be arriving early, and leading with the value of creating an excellent customer service experience

Key Takeaways

  • Weekly meetings with community-based organizations, hosted by the City, was a key strategy in rapidly identifying community partners that could host mobile clinics in hard-to-reach communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
  • Trusted community groups and messengers, such as churches and pastors, were critical in building trust among Black seniors to make appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Hosting mobile vaccination clinics in disproportionately impacted communities and creating culturally affirming spaces is critical in engaging members of the community.
  • Making direct 1:1 contact (often in the form of personal phone calls) to community members ensured that they were directly benefitting from vaccines that were available to them.