When the COVID-19 vaccine became available, there was concern it wouldn’t adequately reach underserved communities. In this episode, APU professor Linda Ashar talks to nurse and healthcare advocate, Dr. Anne Harty, about how providers came together to quickly mobilize volunteer-based vaccination centers in underserved areas in Sacramento County, California. Learn about partnering with local community-based organizations to ensure people who didn’t have access to the internet or were undocumented could register for the vaccine, how the pop-up vaccination centers were developed to be scalable so anyone across the country could replicate it, and why the all-volunteer program was an ideal model for delivering the COVID-19 vaccine.
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Linda Ashar: Welcome everyone. I am Linda Ashar, host for this podcast. Today, I am pleased to welcome Dr. Anne Harty from Creighton University. Dr. Harty is deeply involved in community service and it is that expertise that she brings to us in our discussion today. A little background about Anne.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing and a Doctor of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University. Anne had strong faculty mentors at Creighton that taught her the importance of advocating for the protection, promotion and optimization of health and abilities of individuals, families, communities, and populations. And you will understand the importance of what I just said as you listen to our podcast today.
Throughout her 20-plus year nursing career, Anne worked with and advocated for families living with hereditary cancer, people living with kidney disease, and preschool through 12th grade students. Early in her career, she served with the American Nephrology Nurses Association as the Nebraska State chapter president and Midwest legislative advisor. She was awarded the Nurse in Washington Internship in 2003.
And since that time, she has worked to advocate for and pass legislation addressing chronic kidney disease and food allergies at the federal and state levels. She has spoken at national nursing conferences on how nurses can be involved in the legislative process. Her doctoral dissertation on academic pressure and stress for students in high-performing Catholic high schools was based on servant leadership.
During the summer of 2020, Anne started a wonderful Facebook group called Nurse Harty’s Neighborhood as a place where people could learn about the many issues regarding racial injustices caused by centuries of systemic racism against Black Americans.
It was Anne’s research interest and love for her alma mater and love for working with students that brought her to her current job as Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions four years ago at Creighton.
She continues to advocate for the health of her community and is here to share the story about a wonderful project that she and some dedicated volunteers have organized in Sacramento County in California. And she hopes that sharing her story of advocacy will inspire others to get involved in similar projects. So let me turn to what brings us to today’s discussion.
When the COVID-19 vaccine was launched, Anne realized early on that there would be a need of organizing the distribution of the vaccine to economically depressed areas and the homeless. Anne and a few dedicated resourceful volunteers spearheaded an exciting project in the Sacramento area to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to the underserved neighborhoods in collaboration with Sacramento County and community-based organizations.
It seemed like a really daunting effort when I first heard about it. And I am amazed at what they have accomplished in just a short time. Within a matter of days of creating this idea, Equivax organization was born and launched.
Now what is notable about this effort is not just the creation of a structure for delivery of the vaccine to so many people in a short time, but the design of a clinical model that is a template for continuing efforts like this nationwide, not only for COVID-19, which is the current focus, but for a delivery of other urgent care needs to underserved communities, whatever those might need to be. For these efforts, Equivax provides technology and volunteer support along with the clinical model they’ve devised. Welcome Anne.
Dr. Anne Harty: Thank you. Thank you. I’m very happy to be here. This is a great opportunity. So thank you for allowing me to share the story.
Linda Ashar: It is such a pleasure. I couldn’t wait to get you here, really. Having heard my introduction and all the things I’ve said and about your brilliant creation of Equivax. I’d like us to now start at the beginning, tell us some background and how this venture got started.
Dr. Anne Harty: Yes. Well, I was invited to participate in a vaccine clinic out here at Jesuit High School, a friend of mine from the doctoral program at Creighton is the principal of their school. So he invited me to come shadow him and also to be a vaccinator as well during the clinic.
So on my first day, I was walking around, his name is Mike, and I was walking around with Mike, and he and Dr. Rusty Oshita, who was the physician who had a partnership with Jesuit, they were the ones running the clinic there.
And I remember standing next to Mike saying, “This is amazing what you’re doing. You’re able to vaccinate up to 2,200 people on a Sunday.” And I thought, how can we take, I asked Mike, “How can we take this model into neighborhoods that need it that are hardest hit right now by COVID that are underserved and really need the vaccine?” So Mike agreed with me, “Yes, Anne, this is a great model. It can definitely be taken to other areas. It should go to other areas. We just are here as kind of the tip of the spear at Jesuit, and absolutely it should go to other areas as well.”
And at the same time I was working that clinic, a friend of mine who I’ve known for, I don’t know, over 10 years or so, Mac Clemmens was there as well. And Mac had the same goal of taking this vaccine and this clinic into areas that are hardest hit. And we came together. Mac and I remember standing there in the parking lot of Jesuit High School and having a conversation with him of how we need to go into communities that need it? And so Mac and I were excited and we came together going, okay, we don’t really know exactly what we’re doing yet or how we’re going to do this, but we know that we’re going to get this done.
And also, I want to say that there were other folks there as well. I mean, we certainly weren’t the only people that were having the same thoughts. There are other people that had the same thoughts that wanted to go into underserved communities using a culturally sensitive approach.
Linda Ashar: When are we talking about? When was that day that you had this insight?
Dr. Anne Harty: That would have been probably the mid to end of February.
Linda Ashar: So that was when the vaccine was first coming out?
Dr. Anne Harty: Yeah. The Jesuit Clinic had already been going for a couple of weeks at that point. And I had gone there probably the mid to end of February. I can’t remember exactly the date, but so Mac and I had this conversation and we talked to Dr. Wood and said, “Hey, do you think that Dr. Oshita would have the capacity to come to Oak Park?” We were looking at setting up a clinic in the Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento. And Mike said, “Sure, I’ll talk to Dr. Oshita.” And he did that. And Dr. Oshita, of course, was on board.
And I want to give you some insight into Dr. Oshita as well. He was one of the very first, if not the first physician, private physician in Sacramento County, to register for this vaccine provider number. So when the vaccine rolled out, the county went to him and he already had a COVID testing site set up at Jesuit High School. So he already had a relationship with them. So he went there and said, “Hey, let’s set up a vaccine clinic and we’ll use this model and we can take it other places from there.”
So Dr. Oshita already had a great relationship with the county and they really trusted him. He was very efficient in this model. So Mac and I would hitch our wagon to Dr. Oshita and his efforts because he had the vaccine and he just wants to get vaccine in as many people as possible in Sacramento County. It made the most sense to go to him.
So the three of us all came together at the same time with the same idea. And we all bring a different perspective, which I think is important to share because I can’t do this on my own, Mac can’t do it on his own, Dr. Oshita can’t do it on his own, and we all bring our own gifts and talents to this.
So Mac really, his perspective is the technology piece, the registration, reporting to the California Immunization Registry. That’s really important to get that done in an efficient and timely manner. And Mac is so gifted and talented in all of that.
I brought this volunteer support model, and well, along taken that idea, taking what Jesuit had and developing even further, the volunteer support model, a clinic and vaccine procedures. So making sure that everyone is licensed and we have clinic practice standards.
Of course, Dr. Oshita brought the vaccine and he’s the medical provider and the oversight. And he’s the one that is keeping his eye on people when they get the vaccine, he’s running the show there. He owns a couple of urgent cares and he’s an emergency department physician. So this is right up his alley.
So from there, Mac and I met, our first official meeting was March 1st, where we met over Zoom and we developed what we were calling at that time the Oak Park Community Vaccine Clinic. And we had a list. I was reviewing the notes this morning from our initial meeting. On that list, we had about 25 community-based organizations on our list. We knew that we wanted to reach out to prominent leaders in the area to make sure this was a good idea, to make sure that folks would want to come to our clinic in Oak Park, to make sure that it was something that people would be receptive to.
Well, one of the leaders that we reached out to is Chet Hewitt and his wife, Laura. And I’ve known Chet and Laura for a long time. I was their kids’ school nurse and their kids go to the high school where we wanted to set up the clinic in Oak Park. And my daughters attend that school as well, Christian Brothers High School.
Chet is the CEO of Sierra Health Foundation. He and Laura both are very well connected and excellent leaders in our community. And right away Chet said, “Yes, this is a great idea.” And he also said, which was a very pivotal moment, he said, “Why only offer this clinic in Oak Park? Why not take it to all communities that are hardest hit? Why just limit it to one location?” And that was a really big “aha” moment for Mack and myself.
Now, you mentioned earlier, I have a full-time job and I’m a mom. And with that idea came a little level of anxiety of, “Oh my gosh, I can’t be in every community in every clinic, but I can sure help design a model and consult with all the players involved on what needs to be done and how we should be doing things.”
So after that meeting with Chet, we really put our heads together and started thinking about, okay, how can, this is a model that we were designing that was meant to be scalable. Our intent was, okay, we’ll start really small at Christian Brothers High School. And then we’ll maybe go from there.
So we had set up the site visit at Christian Brothers on March 9th with the leaders of the school and Dr. Oshita and a couple of people from his staff and then myself and Mac. And we were going to walk the site and see how we were going to set up if it was going to be a drive-through clinic, like it was at Jesuit High School or if it was going to be a walk-in clinic.
Sometime between Mac and I’s official meeting on March 1st and then our meeting at Christian Brothers on March 9th, Sacramento County developed a Vaccine Equity Committee. So they wanted to make sure that the vaccine was going to be delivered to the area’s hardest hit. The unhealthiest zip codes, if you will.
And certainly, the Oak Park zip code falls in that unhealthy zip code. And so a representative from that committee came to our meeting at Christian Brothers and he said, “We love this idea. We want to vaccinate people in Oak Park.” Right now, the county has an idea, they had already put some plans into place to serve South Sacramento, which is just South of Oak Park, not too far away, but not in the immediate Oak Park community.
Mac had visited with this gentleman from the county during our meeting there at Christian Brothers High School. And this gentleman really loved the model so much that he said, “How can we take this with us to South Sacramento? So can you bring the technology and the volunteer support to our clinic that we’re already going to set up in South Sacramento?” So right away, it was well, “Yes, of course.” I mean, our goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible. We will go basically wherever you tell us to go.
So the county worked very closely with Mac. That was a clinic, the first clinic I wasn’t able to attend because I was at work. So I wasn’t able to attend that one. So this was our meeting on March 9th at Christian Brothers High School. The first clinic was actually March 12th. So the turnaround time was very, very quick. They said, “We’re not quite sure when it’s going to be or where it’s going to be yet.” And then it turned out to be, “Oh, it’s going to be Friday.” And I think that was maybe Wednesday that they told us that it was going to be on Friday.
So the county and a council member, Mai Vang, from South Sacramento, she really had the idea of working with community-based organizations and having folks register for the vaccine through these community-based organizations, rather than signing up on a general signup link that would be open to the public because we really wanted to make sure that we were serving the zip codes hardest hit and most under resourced, that people from a different county weren’t signing up, or we really wanted to make sure that we were serving those communities that were hardest hit.
Linda Ashar: By hardest hitting zip codes, this is a tracking of numbers that the local government facilities keep track of? As opposed to a nationwide system or something like that?
Dr. Anne Harty: Yes. Yeah. So this Sacramento County looks very, they’re the ones that determine it. And then that’s how they determine where we go basically, where we set up shop.
Partnering with the community-based organizations and having them register people also helped reach those who maybe didn’t have access to the internet or couldn’t go online to register themselves. That was one thing that Mac and I had had early conversations about was making sure that folks could still register, even if they didn’t have access to the internet. So by going through their community-based organizations, somebody could help them register. They’d have folks right there that they know and that they trust that could help them register for the clinics.
What happened right after getting everything set up for the first South Sacramento clinic was Mac changed the name. So it was the Oak Park Community Vaccine Clinic. And we thought, well, now I guess since we’re outside of Oak Park and we’re making this more general, we need a new name.
So Mac thought of the name “Equivax,” which was great. And Mac, like I said, he’s a technology wizard. And he has been doing website design and building websites since high school; he built our website and we launched the website on March 11th. So the Equivax.org website went up on March 11th.
The very first clinic was March 12th. And around 90% of the folks that we served, they were BIPOC population. So Black, Indigenous or people of color. 40% did not speak English. We had 12 different languages spoken at that clinic. And then by March 15th, so that Monday, we had over 19,800 unique hits to our website with already 530 volunteers in our volunteer pool just ready to go, waiting for the next clinic and when it was going to come.
Linda Ashar: We’re speaking today with Dr. Anne Harty about Equivax, a community-based program for delivering the COVID-19 vaccine. So, this is 100% volunteer-manned.
Dr. Anne Harty: Absolutely. Yeah. And the volunteers are so ready and willing to come and help. We have some dear friends of mine who are, I call them my bonus sisters, my sister and I both are nurses. And then we are friends with these two other nurses, our bonus sisters, Anna and Selena. And Selena works as an ICU nurse at UC, University of California, San Francisco. And her sister, Anna, is an emergency department nurse here in Sacramento. And they have been caring for COVID patients since the beginning.
And Selena had said, “I am so happy to come and volunteer my time to vaccinate people. And I will do this so I do not have to hold the hand of one more person that is dying of COVID.” I think she speaks for all the nurses, all the medical professionals, every person that comes to serve in our clinics. People are willing to come and volunteer their time so that not one more person has to die of this disease.
Linda Ashar: That’s a very powerful statement.
Dr. Anne Harty: Absolutely. And I was talking to her last night and she said, she came to a clinic this week. She works three days in San Francisco and lives here in Sacramento. And she said, “I’m just addicted to your clinics, Anne. I’m addicted to coming and giving the vaccine to as many people as possible.” And I know my sister has been there and Anna has been there. Many, many nurses. We have a long list of very dedicated people that are helping us.
And I will say the county loves the efficiency of the Equivax technology, the volunteer support, the reporting, because they require that everything is reported within 24 hours to the California Immunization Registry. It’s called CAIR.
And the way that Mac has designed the technology, it’s no problem getting that done. If we do 800 in a day, if we did 4,000 in a day, there’s no problem getting it all reported because he has streamlined that and made it so efficient that there’s no hiccups.
And another favorite thing that people love about our clinics that Mac designed is the real-time reporting. So we had on a clinic we did this past week, we have it projected up on a big screen. So when people are sitting there waiting after they’ve had their immunization and they sit there in the 15-minute observation period, they can see on the big screen exactly many people have been vaccinated up to that minute, it’s refreshed constantly, and the demographics of the people that have been vaccinated.
And it’s just really super cool to see that in real-time when you’re sitting there. And I think everybody, I know all the volunteers love seeing that. I mean, you’re watching real-life statistics of how we are changing, making people healthier and communities healthier.
Linda Ashar: Is that information also on the website?
Dr. Anne Harty: Yeah, we have a lot of information on the website about what we’ve done. Everything on our website is free for anybody to use. So we’re happy to share the technology, how we’ve set up the volunteer registration as well.
One thing that we really needed were consent forms that were translated into many different languages. So we have all of those that are on our website as well for people to use. And since we started our first clinic on March 12th, we have done 12 clinics at five different sites, and we’ve delivered about 16,000 doses of the vaccine.
Right now, we have about 900 volunteers in our database. 72% of the people we have vaccinated are of BIPOC population. 40% are uninsured. And at one clinic, we had up to 12 different languages. So it’s been an amazing adventure.
Linda Ashar: I think it’s absolutely marvelous. How long do you think as to COVID vaccinations, do you see this continuing?
Dr. Anne Harty: Yeah, I don’t know the answer to that because we’re doing a great job in California vaccinating people. We used to have a very big need for walk-in clinics, and people aren’t coming as quickly as they were before, I guess, or lining up as early as they were before. And I think that’s because people are getting vaccinated and there’s probably other factors as well, but I don’t know how long this will go. If this was just something that served an immediate need, then that’s okay too.
But we do have in California, I can’t speak to all the nuances of this, but do know very soon that Blue Shield is going to come in and they will be coordinating vaccine efforts here. So I’m not sure what everything will look like when they come in and do their work.
Linda Ashar: I mean, ideally at some point, most people that are willing to be vaccinated will be. I mean, we know that there are people that will not get the vaccine for whatever their reasons are. And there are a variety of reasons why that could be.
That being said, there still could be, as we have other vaccines, an ongoing need for vaccines. So there might not need to be mass clinics, but there still will be a need for ongoing vaccinations along with other vaccinations.
And my thoughts are this clinical model for delivery of preventive care, which is certainly vaccine, is a big part of that, whether we’re talking COVID or flu or shingles or measles, there is a wonderfully long list now we have of being able to eradicate disease. Would this model that you’ve developed be something worthwhile to utilize on an ongoing basis, particularly for underserved communities that are not readily accessible to healthcare?
Dr. Anne Harty: Absolutely. Yes. And we’re happy to share and we’re happy to work with the county as needed. Absolutely. Yes.
Linda Ashar: Seems to me that there would be a particular need. It’s a spotlighted need that could be done. It would be a way of quietly screening people as they come in for that service that they could be directed then to other free healthcare that would be available that they might not know about or affordable healthcare, if not free. As you mentioned, I believe you said 40, was it 40% that was not insured?
Dr. Anne Harty: Yes.
Linda Ashar: That’s a high number in one finite location within a county.
Dr. Anne Harty: So that’s between all of the 12, well, five sites. The 40% is between five sites. And it is a high number. We’ve made it very clear that we are open to serving anyone, regardless of their insurance status, whether or not they’re a citizen. So we have quite a few, I don’t know the number of undocumented, but we definitely welcome and we make it very clear that we are open to everyone. People do not have to have an ID or an insurance card in order to be vaccinated. So that’s the point of Equivax is to make vaccines more equitable and available to everybody.
Linda Ashar: That is part of the beauty of it. The other beauty of this is that it’s a 100% volunteer-based. That being said, since Equivax does not finance anything, it provides the labor and the expertise, which are two big components of this kind of venture. How is the infrastructure on a given clinic provided then? Who, for one of a better word, funds that? How is that done?
Dr. Anne Harty: That’s a great question. So typically, what happens is the county basically tells us where to go. And they will say, “Okay, you’re going to go into South Sacramento at this site, this community center, and here are your site coordinators.”
So then we work with the site coordinators. Usually, Mack goes over, meets with them, walks through their site, plans where everything is going to be set, how it’s going to be set up, walks through with them through the registration. First of all, starting with where we’re going to queue the line outside or how that’s going to work and how to manage the traffic and everything. And then the registration, where patients register.
And then the actual clinic, where we’re going to set up the clinic, where we set up the observation area, the extended observation area for folks that need to be observed for 30 minutes instead of the typical 15.
So he walks through with the site coordinators, and then they talk about, “Okay, we’re going to need chairs, we’re going to need tables, if we need easy up tents for shade in the line.” Most of the community partners have those things.
And the Office of Emergency Management, I can’t remember their official name, but they will provide the ambulance, if we need cones outside to queue the line or traffic. They provide like the vests and just kind of those types of things. Sometimes the organization will provide gloves, band aids, PPE, the personal protective equipment, gauze pads, and wipes and hand sanitizer and everything we need to actually set up the clinic. Sometimes Dr. Oshita will bring that from his urgent care as well. So it just depends on the clinic site.
Linda Ashar: But he donates, I presume.
Dr. Anne Harty: I believe there’s a small reimbursement for the vaccine, but I can’t imagine the amount of the reimbursement covers all of it.
Linda Ashar: Well, probably not. But to the extent there is something like, that that would be a direct reimbursement from the county. It’s not coming back to Equivax.
Dr. Anne Harty: No, no, no, nothing. There’s no money that’s coming through to Equivax.
Linda Ashar: All right. And that raises my next question, who is supplying the vaccine?
Dr. Anne Harty: That comes down through the federal government basically, flows down through them to the county level. And then the county decides where it goes from there.
Linda Ashar: So Equivax doesn’t have any control over that, do you?
Dr. Anne Harty: No, no, no, no. We provide, like I said, the technology and volunteer support. We basically show up and pop up a clinic wherever the county tells us to go. They will know, okay, we have 3,000 or 2,000 doses of Moderna. Here you go, Dr. Oshita, we want you to pop up a clinic in North Sacramento or South Sacramento or wherever.
Linda Ashar: Well, I wanted it to be very clear that people don’t come away from this discussion thinking Equivax stores doses of vaccine, because that could be an easy misunderstanding that someone might get from this. And I just wanted to make it very clear that what you do is a very vital delivery system so the vaccine can get off the shelf and to people who need it through a well-organized, quick, safe, hygienic system. Is that a correct statement?
Dr. Anne Harty: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Like I said, we go where they tell us.
Linda Ashar: Okay. I had another question. What else can you add to how you created this? Because just listening to this, it’s clear this is no small effort. I have visions in my mind of a room. I mean, I have received a vaccine here in Ohio and having been through that system at a hospital, that was very well run, I can see what it takes to organize that just from looking at it at the surface.
That’s a lot of planning, a lot of effort that doesn’t just happen with the snap of a fingers. And yet you put all this together very well in a short period of time. Do you have a magic wand stored in your desk drawer?
Dr. Anne Harty: I do. Oh my goodness, I wish. I think what the Jesuit model showed us is that people are willing to volunteer, because obviously, this can’t happen without volunteers. If people don’t show up, none of this can happen. And what Dr. Wood at Jesuit really showed us and orchestrated that people are more than willing to come and show up and volunteer and help.
And the first clinic, because again, I couldn’t be there. I was talking to Mac last night. I said, “Okay, again, run me through the first clinic and how it went.” And he said, “Oh, Anne, it all happened so fast.” And he said, “The first couple hours, about an hour and a half into it, I told Dr. Oshita. I said, ‘Dr. Oshita, I think I took off more than I can chew, but I’m still chewing.’” And so I think there’s this idea of yeah, this is big and it just flows.
In the beginning, it seemed huge, but people showed up. And between Mac and Dr. Oshita, and myself, and all the other people involved, everybody knows somebody that can do something. So Dr. Oshita working with the county and Mac working with council member Mai Vang’s office. And then somebody from that office would say, “Oh, we’re going to call this office. We’re going to call somebody from over there. They can bring this. And those people can bring that. And we know that they’ll show up and they’ll be there.” And they were.
So I guess, when I think about this and I think about, we all have these thoughts and ideas of whatever it is. For me, it was, I was really bothered that communities that were the hardest hit were not getting the vaccine right away. And that really bothered. But it didn’t do me any good, it didn’t do that anybody any good if I just sat on my couch and have that thought. I was willing to verbalize that thought and willing to, and even just by verbalizing it, I then was in the part of the conversation with all of these other people that had the same thoughts and same ideas.
Everybody bringing their, like I said, own gifts and talents to the table that it just expands from there. So it seems less daunting when you know that there are people out there that all have a willingness to give, a willingness to volunteer, a willingness to step up and bring their own expertise to the table.
Linda Ashar: Where do you see Equivax going from here?
Dr. Anne Harty: That’s a great question. And Mac and I were having this conversation last night that eventually the market will be saturated, if you will. And whether that be enough people are vaccinated or those who are not going to be vaccinated aren’t coming. So the combination of those two means that the market will eventually be saturated.
So I don’t really know exactly what will happen, we’ll be ready. I think, if people are going to need a booster, let’s say, or if there’s a different variant, and next year, we’re looking at a whole different vaccine, then we’ll be ready to go.
Linda Ashar: Well, and one last point. You have everything up on the internet for anyone, national, if not worldwide, to view how your program works. If I’m a mayor of a town in Ohio, which is the state I live in, I could contact Equivax for information about how to implement your program here, couldn’t I?
Dr. Anne Harty: Yes, absolutely.
Linda Ashar: And you would not have to physically come to Ohio to do it, you would be able to explain how your model works and how to get volunteers to staff it, couldn’t you?
Dr. Anne Harty: Yeah, absolutely. We want this to be a model that people can pop up anywhere, wherever they live. So absolutely, people can reach out to us. They have questions, there’s a lot of information on our website, but we know that people have more questions than what they see on the website. So absolutely can reach out to us.
Linda Ashar: Well, that’s excellent. I cannot thank you enough for spending your time with me today for our listeners to learn about this program. And one of the most exciting things about this is what you’ve shared with us about the mass volunteer, with love, contributions that people have done to make this program possible.
Dr. Anne Harty: Absolutely.
Linda Ashar: I’m hearing it at all levels from the beginning that you and your close associates put together to get it going, to the cooperation and quick movement of the county infrastructure to cooperate and adopt this and make it happen.
Those are things that we’re not used to hearing about publicly these days, quite frankly. So it is exciting, uplifting, and refreshing from any way you look at it, Anne. I really applaud your efforts and admire everything about this program and you for what you’ve done here.
As we bring this to a close, what advice would you give in a nutshell to someone who wants to put an idea into practice? It wouldn’t have to be a program like this, any volunteer program for good. What’s your advice?
Dr. Anne Harty: My advice is to be willing to speak up, number one. You don’t know where you can go from there and you definitely don’t know what other people are thinking if nobody speaks up. And so I think the very first step is if you see an injustice or if you have an idea about anything, speak up.
And it can take you to great places. By using your voice can take you great places. So I think that’s the very first step. And then you’ll find yourself speaking to the right people and doing the best thing to make the world a better place.
Dr. Anne Harty: And also, don’t discount yourself. I think a lot of times people think, “Oh, maybe I’m not the right person to do that, or I don’t have that type of expertise, I don’t know, I don’t really know what I’m doing.” That’s okay. Nobody knows everything. Nobody has all the answers or can solve the problem themselves. So yes, recognizing the need, speaking up, and believing that you can make a difference because every single one of us can make a difference.
Linda Ashar: Well, I can’t think of a better note to end this on. I thank you so much for this time. I look forward to talking with you again, hearing how things are progressing.
Dr. Anne Harty: I will. Thank you. I would like to close with a quote from our medical director, Dr. Rusty Oshita. And he gives a pep talk in a welcome, before every single clinic; he addresses all the volunteers and thanks everybody for being there. And so this is a quote from one of his talks:
“Not only must we focus on safety, we have a focus on love. We are reuniting families and making a positive difference in the hardest hit community. This is a beautiful day for South Sacramento.”
Linda Ashar: Thank you, Anne. That is a beautiful quote and a perfect closing for our podcast today. I can’t thank you enough for being with us.
We have been speaking today with Dr. Anne Harty. Anne has shared with us information about Equivax, a volunteer program and ideal model for delivering the COVID-19 vaccine to underserved communities in the Sacramento County area in California. Thank you for listening.