When Detroit became a COVID-19 hotspot in 2020, the closest testing site was 15 miles away from the city. Community members raised the urgent need for free and accessible COVID testing, and DABO worked with its partners at Sinai-Grace Hospital and Wayne State University to make it happen. Together, the organizations set up a free COVID testing site where residents could get tested regardless of symptoms or insurance coverage. Through DABO’s partnership with the Premier Quality Health Center and the Center for Global Health Innovation, the community was also able to access COVID-19 vaccines and timely, accurate information about them.
Similarly, when high blood pressure rates were on the rise among Black adults in Detroit, DABO’s partners—including UnitedHealth Group and Resolve to Save Lives—came together to identify and treat people with undiagnosed and uncontrolled high blood pressure. The organizations worked with community healthcare workers to bring screening and treatments into the community and into people’s homes so people wouldn’t need to go to the doctor’s office for treatment.
William Coleman, DABO’s chief financial officer, explained, “Whenever the community identifies a need, we involve as many community-based organizations as we can to facilitate working together. They bring something we don’t have, and we can bring something they don’t have. It’s a stepping stone toward deeper collaboration.”
After reports of increased suicide rates among young Black Detroiters, DABO member organizations worked with Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network to establish Project Rainbow, a suicide prevention initative focused on Black teenagers. The organization partnered with other local entities, such as the Faith-Based Council, to provide culturally relevant, free mental health first aid training. Project Rainbow has been able to offer suicide prevention training to schools, churches, senior citizens, first responders, families, fraternities, and sororities.
“Through our collaborative suicide prevention efforts, Project Rainbow has been able to reach a corner of the city that might otherwise not receive support. We are proud the initiative has been able to reach the masses through community engagement and broad media outreach,” said Andrea Smith, director of Innovation & Community Engagement at Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network.