October 29, 2021
Dr. Ala Stanford started the Black Doctor's COVID-19 Consortium at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic to provide barrier-free testing for underserved communities in Philadelphia.
Now, the consortium has dropped "COVID-19" from its name as it broadens its efforts to reduce health disparities. On Wednesday, it will open a primary care clinic in North Philadelphia called The Dr. Ala Stanford Center for Health Equality, or ASHE.
The clinic, located at 2001 W. Lehigh Ave. in Swampoodle, will offer wellness check-ups for children and adults, behavioral health, electrocardiograms and phlebotomy in a welcoming environment.
The clinic sits inside a wing of the Deliverance Evangelistic Church and has eight exam rooms and three private behavioral health spaces. Stanford said the location of the center is permanent.
The clinic is raising funds to provide X-rays and mammograms, too, WHYY reported. Renovations for the center cost around $2 million. It was funded through a mix of individual and private donations.
"People deserve the right for equitable care and that it's a privilege for us to take care of you and that's how we treated every person that we encountered," Stanford told CBS3.
Stanford founded the consortium in response to the disproportionate number of Black Americans that were diagnosed with COVID-19 and dying from the illness. Over 18 months, the consortium has tested more than 25,000 patients and vaccinated more than 53,000 people.
Stanford decided to extend the consortium's services beyond COVID-19 tests and vaccinations in an effort to help prevent other health conditions that disproportionally affect underserved communities.
Black Americans are more likely to die of breast and prostate cancer than white Americans, according to the National Cancer Institute. These disparities exist in part because Black people are more likely to encounter obstacles in getting health care.
The consortium's clinic accepts all forms of insurance and offers a sliding fee scale for people who are uninsured.
"For us, it doesn't matter what type of insurance you have, or don't have. You're going to see the same people, you're going to get the same level of care, and that's what we plan to deliver for everyone who comes into the door," Stanford said in a press release.