Area Church Pastors, the City of Reno, the City of Sparks, the Washoe County School District, REMSA and Renown will be available to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, and how they have joined together to provide free COVID-19 testing to area residents. WHAT Media is invited to interview community leaders to learn how we are coming together to address health disparities and promote equity in healthcare access and delivery. The first project to support our community and address health equity is to partner with area pastors to provide free COVID-19 nasal swab testing for adults and children of faith-based organizations, churches and school children. The first drive-through/walk-up test site will be hosted on Saturday, September 26 from 1-4 p.m., at Ministerio Palabra de Vida by Pastor Cesar Minera. Testing will be offered for members of Ministerio Palabra de Vida (Word of Life Ministries) and A.M.E.N. (Asociacion de Ministros Evangelicos de Nevada), a network of over 15 churches in the Reno, Sparks and Carson City area, as well as WCSD students and families living in that area. REMSA staff will conduct the nasal swab testing and Renown Health will process the tests. Having symptoms of COVID-19 is not required to get tested. WHEN Thursday, September 24 at 1:45 p.m. WHERE Ministerio Palabra de Vida 2375 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89502 VISUAL & INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES Pastor Cesar Minera A member of the church congregation Representatives from the City of Reno (Vice Mayor Reese), City of Sparks, WCSD, REMSA and Renown Health WHY According to the American Hospital Association, the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting our Black, Indigenous and people of color communities. Black and Latino Americans are three times more likely than white people to contract COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the COVID-19 hospitalization rate for Black and Latino persons also face similar grim hospitalization rates, 4.7 and 4.6 times higher, respectively, compared to white persons. Black people are dying at a rate nearly two times higher (24%) than their share of the population (13%), and, in 42 states, including Nevada, Latino people make up a greater share of confirmed cases than their share of the population, according to the COVID Data Tracking Project at The Atlantic. In support of Governor Sisolak’s proclamation of Racism as a Public Health Crisis, a partnership of faithbased organizations, churches and Pastors, along with community leaders recognize that it is critical to change the culture of medicine by addressing racism and implicit biases that contribute to health disparities. The group of northern Nevada community leaders includes; Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve; Sparks City Counselman Kristopher Dahir, Chaplain for the Northern Nevada Veterans Home, and Board President of Excel Christian School; Angela D. Taylor, Ph.D. of Washoe County School District's Board of Trustees, an ordained minister and assistant Pastor at Greater Light Christian Center; Senior Pastor Cesar Minera of Ministerio Palabra de Vida (Word of Life Ministries) and President of A.M.E.N. (Asociacion de Ministros Evangelicos de Nevada), a network of over 15 churches in the Reno, Sparks and Carson City area; Pastor Nathan DuPree of Living Stones Church and executive director of 360 Blueprint, a collaboration of the local law enforcement agencies, the Washoe County School District and local community leaders, and co-chairman of the African American Clergy Council of Northern Nevada (AACCoNN), faith-based organizations, churches and Pastors uniting to support our community focusing on families, health, education, job development, and crime prevention; Norris DuPree, Jr., Ph.D. and President of Transformations Therapy and Behavioral Consultation; Pastor DeSean Horne of Second Baptist Church, Dean Dow, MBA, CMTE, President & CEO of REMSA and Anthony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President & CEO of Renown. The first project to support our community to address health equity is to partner with area pastors to provide free COVID-19 nasal swab testing for adults and children of faith-based organizations, churches and school children of the WCSD. There is no cost to be tested. Those with insurance will be asked to provide an insurance card, all others will be tested free, with thanks to the Renown Community Benefits fund. About Renown Health Renown Health is Reno’s only locally owned, charitable, not-for-profit integrated health network. Being not-for-profit means that all income stays in the community— and is reinvested in programs, people and equipment to improve the health of the community. Renown directly contributes to the community’s overall well-being with a Community Benefit mission to reduce health disparities, promote community wellness and improve access to care for vulnerable populations. This includes offering free and discounted care to those unable to afford healthcare, and partnerships with others to address health and well-being. In partnership with many community-based organizations, area schools, human and social service agencies, and government and business leaders, Renown supports many educational, public health outreach, and community development initiatives throughout Nevada. In FY19, Renown Health, a locally-governed, not-for-profit community health network invested more than $158 Million for health education, community initiatives and non-reimbursed healthcare services. In FY20, CEO, Dr. Tony Slonim provided $150,000 in funding to 60 local agencies to support Diversity & Inclusion efforts and Social Determinants of Health.