AAFP, Project N95 & Councilwoman Robinson Partner to Distribute 40,000 Masks in schools, among vulnerable in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, MO, USA, February 28, 2022

The American Academy of Family Physicians, national not-for-profit 501(c) (3) group Project N95 and Kansas City Councilwoman Melissa J. Robinson have partnered to distribute 40,000 high-quality, high-filtration masks to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses among our city’s most vulnerable populations. Recipients will be students and teachers in nine schools in the Kansas City Public School District, as well as chronically ill, elderly and homebound clients of the Black Health Care Coalition.

While COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have fallen in recent weeks, the pandemic continues to cause illness and death across the country — especially in communities of color where chronic conditions and health inequities have historically been more prevalent. COVID-19 has exacerbated chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma in these high-risk populations, making it more important than ever to ensure equitable access to high-quality masks to protect themselves and each other.

The groups began distributing the masks on Saturday, Feb. 26, at Jamison Memorial Temple in Kansas City, Missouri, in conjunction with the Black Health Care Coalition Annual Leadership meeting. On Monday, Feb. 28, the groups began delivering the masks to the select high school and middle schools.

As we commemorate Black History Month, we are saddened and dismayed that Black people have died from COVID-19 at 1.4 times the rate of White people. (HHS). “Black History Month should be a time to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans as well as a time to acknowledge where progress still needs to be made,” said R. Shawn Martin, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the AAFP, which is headquartered in Leawood, Kansas. “More work is needed to address the spread of COVID-19, and more efforts are needed to fight racial disparities in prevention and care, including access to quality personal protective equipment.”

Family physicians can mitigate health inequity, including systemic racism, by collaborating with community stakeholders to affect positive change for the populations they serve. The AAFP is committed to developing strategies that promote health equity through identifying and incorporating social determinants of health in all health care delivery systems — with the goal of prioritizing preventive health and management of chronic conditions. “Our mission is to eliminate health disparities through advocacy, access to care and health promotion activities, and that’s why I’m so pleased to have the support of the AAFP and Project N95 as we work to reduce the incidence of COVID in our community,” said Third District Councilwoman Robinson, who serves as president of the Black Health Care Coalition (www.bhcckc.org). “In addition to wearing high-quality respiratory protection indoors, we are urging everyone in our community to get vaccinated.”

“It’s tempting to want to ‘go back to normal’ and stop wearing masks,’” said Anne Miller, executive director of Project N95. “But to do so overlooks the reality that health and social inequalities in our society persist and people are still getting sick, dealing with long COVID, and even dying from COVID. Being vaccinated and wearing a high-quality face covering are still two of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your family.” -# # #-

We are happy to arrange Zoom or phone interviews with representatives of AAFP and Project N95 or with Councilwoman Melissa Robinson.

About the AAFP

Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 133,500 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty. To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s consumer website, www.familydoctor.org

About Project N95

Project N95 is a national non-profit working to provide equitable access for all to affordable, authentic respiratory protection and health products through education, advocacy and distribution of vetted goods and services. As a leading rapid response nonprofit organization created in response to the pandemic, Project N95 has delivered more than 32 million units of personal protective equipment since May 2020, becoming the National Clearinghouse for critical PPE and other respiratory protection. Visit projectn95.org to learn more or to volunteer.

Media Contact

Jana Lynne Sanchez press@projectn95.org 469-396-2048

Rebecca Beeler 317-775-5789 rbeeler@aafp.org rbeeler@aafp.org

AAFP, Project N95 & Councilwoman Robinson Partner to Distribute 40,000 Masks in schools, among vulnerable in Kansas City