public health guerrillas
Hood Medicine Initiative is a nonprofit public health collective made up of scientists, hackers, and other assorted geeks who are dedicated to improving the health of black and brown people, and the communities we live in.
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Black, Indigenous, LatinX, and Pacific Islander Americans are dealing with a very different pandemic
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the guerrilla list
science & policy
Shanice Hudson, PhD
Shanice completed a BS in Biology at MIT, and an interdisciplinary PhD in Bioengineering, Biostatistics & Bioinformatics, and Pharmacology & Toxicology at the University of Louisville. She currently works as a research scientist at Elanco Animal Health. She spearheads the Hood Med Chats web series, directs scientific content development, & manages community partnership efforts
Jonathan completed a S.B. in Biology at MIT and later matriculated to Suffolk University Law School. Mr. White runs a small courier service and also works to support the anti-racism organization Overcoming Racism. He is focused on partnership development in support of our mission.
Jay Stallons, PhD, DABT
Environmental Justice Director
Jay completed a BS in Chemistry and a PhD in Pharmacology & Toxicology at the University of Louisville, and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology. He completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in renal toxicology at the Medical University of South Carolina and is now a Senior Research Scientist at Elanco Animal Health.
Doug Slaughter, MPH
Public Health Director
Doug is an Epidemiologist for the CDC Foundation, and has a BS in Philosophy from MIT and a Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology from Emory University. He is focused on shaping public health programming and policy for implementation in minority communities.
Director of Community Care
Melissa is a Patient Service Representative and Advocate based in Honolulu who works tirelessly coordinating patient care and ensuring the underserved in her community have access to critical care and basic needs. She is focused on developing programming to provide pandemic relief to struggling communities.
Jennifer Johnson Muhammad, MS
Health Advocacy Director
Jennifer has a BS in Biology from MIT and an MA & MS in Health Advocacy & Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College. She works as a genetic counselor at Integrated Genetics/LabCorp. Her efforts are focused on engagement in underserved communities to advocate for science and health education, and preventative medicine.
Garmell Hudson, JD
Compliance Officer & Legal Advisor
Garmell completed a BA in Criminal Justice at Indiana State University and his JD at Indiana University School of Law. He currently works as a Senior Business Advisor at Anthem. He is our expert on healthcare systems and provides legal counsel & compliance guidance to our organization.
Khendra Peay, MD
Mental Health Programming Director
Khendra is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in Washington DC. She earned her BA in Pre-medicine and Psychology from Wellesley College, and an MD from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Dr. Peay is an Assembly Representative for the Greater Washington region of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She has practiced in outpatient and inpatient clinical settings and consults for clinical training and community education programs. She directs mental health programming at Hood Medicine and works on our steering committee to improve access to mental health services and care.
Melanie Robinson Findlay, MSW, LCSW
Mental Health Coordinator
Melanie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has built her career fostering empowerment and promoting advocacy for populations who are underserved by the systems that provide their care. She earned her BS in Psychology from Northeastern University and a Master of Social work from Boston College. She served as the first Black woman to chair the Board of Registration of Social Workers in Massachusetts, and she also sits on the Advisory Board of the Office of Returning Citizens. Her private practice provides therapy and executive coaching, and she serves as an adjunct professor at Boston College and Simmons College. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Neuropsychology and Forensic Psychology. Her work at Hood Medicine is focused on initiatives to improve access to mental health services and build community care networks.
Tauchiana Williams, MSW, LCSW
Youth Mental Health Coordinator
Denzel Caldwell, MA
Wellness & Preparedness Coordinator
Troy Hawkins, PhD
Troy oversees the STEM Education Program, Hood Geek Seek. He is a computational scientist who has a PhD in Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics from Purdue University and a BA in Biochemistry from William Jewell College. He is currently the Head of Computational Sciences at Elanco Animal Health.
L. Dolio Durant
Dolio obtained his SB in Mechanical Engineering at MIT and works as a software developer and technical instructor specializing in full-stack application development and data engineering. His experience spans diverse industries, having applied his skills in development & instruction domestically and abroad. Originally from Pensacola, Florida, he is now based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Aisha Janeen Hodge-Jackson
Aisha studied Biology and Applied Mathematics at MIT, and currently works an the Internal Collaboration Platforms Manager for a global services firm, owning the acquisition, development, support, and training for enterprise collaboration platforms. Here at Hood Medicine, she oversees our web presence as webmaster, and manages internal infrastructure.
Jared Lucas Nathanson
Jared is an artist, musician, and logistical solutions architect dedicated to activism on issues of systemic racism, oppression and economic inequality. He is also a painter, media artist, as well as the lead singer and songwriter of the Boston based band The Heartsleeves. Jared grew up in Schenectady, NY with a loving family who raised him to lead with empathy & fight for justice.
Anise Smith, MS
Anise has a Bachelor’s in Organizational Development from Rosemont College and a Master’s Degree in Internet/Digital Marketing from Full Sail University. Her professional background merges sales, digital marketing, and education in the technical and biopharma analytics space. She directs marketing & promotions for our organization.
Patrick Berwise, Jr.
Patrick studied Film, Cinema, & Video Studies at the City College of New York and currently works as a Freelance Illustrator and Video Editor. He leads efforts to produce video and other media content for all of our platforms.
Shinikequa White, MBA
Shinikequa completed her BS in Biomedical Engineering with Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester, and an MBA in Marketing from the Sawyer School of Management at Suffolk University. She leads our efforts to optimize our market strategies and public relations activities.
Laurene Lonnemann, MBA
Laurene completed her BS in Animal Science at Purdue University and an MBA in Applied Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. She works to scout and cultivate vital partnerships for our organization, and build promotional networks for our platforms.
Quinn Chipley, MD/PhD, MS, MDiv
Mental Health Advisor
Quinn is a retired Psychologist who formerly served as the Counseling Coordinator for the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center. He earned a BA at Rice University, and also holds a Master’s of Divinity from Southeastern Theological Seminary. He earned his MA in Clinical Psychology, MD, and PhD from the University of Louisville. His passion is focused on abstinence-based, peer-support recovery communities and transitional living for those in recovery from addiction, and he currently serves on the board for Beacon House, a local sober transitional living facility in Louisville, KY. He steers mental health policy and programming initiatives for Hood Medicine.
Charles Senteio, PhD, LCSW, MBA
Public Health Advisor
Charles is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University. He is a visiting MLK Professor at MIT for 2020-2021, and his research is focused on vulnerable patient populations. He aims to enhance the collection and use of health information to identify and address barriers to care in order to improve health outcomes and reduce cost of care. He advises on public health and data science initiatives at Hood Medicine.
John Chenault, PhD, MA, MLIS
Medical Education Advisor
John is the Director of Anti-Racism Initiatives for the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He has a Master of Library & Information Science from the University of Kentucky, and earned an MA and a PhD in Pan African Studies from the University of Louisville. He is also an accomplished librettist, poet, and playwright who was nominated for an Emmy Award for penning the script for Young Men Grow Older. He advises on medical education, the history of medical racism, and health advocacy initiatives for Hood Medicine.
we bring science & technology to marginalized communities, empower families to make healthy choices, and help them find trusted healthcare & vital resources.
COVID info center
vaccine & testing hub
Hood Med Chats series
safe hood spots
vaccine registration help
community vaccination events
mobile vaccination units
volunteer telehealth network
volunteer gig activism portal
food & resource aid
hood med chats
knowledge, understanding, choice
we want to help you understand the virus and the vaccines, so you understand the stakes. we all we got. only we can save ourselves.
learn about the virus and how it works
how do covid-19 vaccines work?
how the vaccine helps herd immunity
frequently asked questions
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a new coronavirus that just recently figured out how to infect humans.
Why does it seem like there is different information about COVID-19 every day?
COVID-19 is a new disease that wasn’t previously seen in humans. We know some things about coronaviruses, but since this is a new & unique coronavirus, scientists are continuously collecting patient data and researching the virus in labs to learn about how it works and the effects it has on the human body.
How can I know what COVID-19 information is trustworthy?
We have access to a world of information, but not everything out there is good or accurate. There are several organizations–the CDC, NIH, WHO, and your local state health departments–who provide accurate and reliable information and updates.
At Hood Medicine, we provide truth and understanding to help you make the right choices to keep your families safe. It is important above all else to use your common sense. We are nowhere near containing the spread, and we have only just begun to vaccinate a small percentage of the population. During these critical phases, you should approach everything you do with an overabundance of caution.
Just remember, this is an airborne virus. Covering your nose and mouth properly when you are around people who do not live with you and maintaining enough distance to keep their breath from getting in your eyes, nose, and mouth is the only way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
What is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)?
The CDC is the primary public health agency for the United States. They work to understand the prevalence of disease in populations and the associated health impacts.
What is the World Health Organization (WHO)?
The World Health Organization is a global agency for health monitoring, advocacy, and policy. They work to provide emergency assistance during outbreaks, and support vulnerable populations in fragile conditions.
What is the National Institutes of Health (NIH)?
The NIH is the US government’s medical research agency that works to investigate human diseases, general biology and toxicology.
How does COVID-19 spread?
Spreads through infected breath droplets released when you breathe, speak, sing, sneeze, or cough. Droplets can be large or too small to be seen. Viruses hang out in these droplets to hitch a ride into new hosts (people who don’t wear masks or keep a safe distance are the virus’s favorite kind of people).
COVID-19 can easily spread from one person to another. This means that a COVID-19 positive person can spread the virus to others – even if they don’t have any symptoms of illness. As many as 20-40% of people with COVID-19 don’t feel sick but can still spread the virus to others.
Virus particles are small enough to linger in the air for prolonged periods of time, leading to airborne transmission when the particles are inhaled by others.
Spreads through touching surfaces contaminated with infected breath droplets, and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your contaminated hand. #washyohands
This is a tricky one because so many people are not aware of how many times they touch their faces throughout the day. Try your best to resist touching your face when you’re out if you haven’t had a chance to sanitize your hands.
Don’t forget about your pets! A small number of cats & dogs have tested positive, but there is not good data on risk of transmission from animals to humans. However, this does mean that humans can potentially spread the virus to their pets.
Just like humans, your household pets should not be in contact with others outside of your household. You should avoid contact with animals that do not live with you.
What happens when someone gets COVID-19?
COVID-19 can affect different people in different ways. Some people are asymptomatic and display no signs of illness, despite having the virus and being able to spread it to others. Some people experience mild discomfort, and others have varying degrees of more serious illness up to and including permanent debilitation or death. So far, roughly 1% of COVID-19 positive people across the world will die; others still may experience lasting damage to major organ systems including the brain, heart, kidneys, and lungs.
How can I protect myself from COVID-19?
The single most important thing you can do to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is to register for the vaccine when you are eligible and ensure that you complete all vaccine appointments. While you are waiting for the vaccine the following guidelines will increase your safety and dramatically reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19.
Stay home when you can
Person-to-person contact is the main form of virus transmission. The more you avoid contact with people outside your household, the less risk you have of being infected.
Avoid unnecessary outings, social gatherings, or crowded places
Limit interaction to only those you live with and make sure they are also avoiding close contact with people outside your home. If you or your home-mate(s) need to leave your home for exercise or an essential outing, choose outdoor settings whenever possible.
(Double) Mask up
Wear a mask when you will be around anyone who does not live with you. The CDC recommends wearing two masks—a disposable mask underneath a standard cloth mask. Carbon filters are also helpful if you have access to them.
Clean your mask
Thoroughly wash your mask when you come home, or if using a disposable mask – do not exceed the recommended usage guidelines on the label. Reusable masks should be washed frequently to avoid contamination.
Wash your nasty hands
Surface contamination is a real source of potential infection. Avoid unnecessarily touching surfaces outside of your home. Be mindful to “keep your hands to yourself” when in public places. Try as best you can to not touch your eyes or face during an outing until you have washed your hands afterwards. Use tissues as much as possible to avoid contamination.
Thoroughly wash your hands when you return from an outing, before and after eating or feeding pets, and when you are taking medicine or providing first aid. Regular handwashing or hand sanitizer use when soap and clean water are unavailable is essential to reducing your risk of infection. Always use clean hot water and soap.
Scrub scrub scrub
Soap bubbles do the hard work of cleaning dirt off the surface of your skin. That is why it is important to lather and scrub your hands vigorously, including the skin between your fingers, the front and back of your hands, and behind your nails. Scrub them for at least 20 seconds before thoroughly rinsing them with clean hot water. We like to sing the ABCs a couple of times to be sure. Fully dry hands with a clean cloth.
Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used to disinfect your hands when you cannot wash them. Fully cover your hands – including the front and back, between your fingers, and under your nails. Rub the sanitizer all over your hands until it is fully absorbed, and your skin is dry.
What behaviors should I avoid during the pandemic?
The following activities should be avoided as much as possible:
- Removing your mask to talk to anyone who lives outside your household
- Sharing food or drinks with anyone outside of intimate partners
- Hugging, kissing, or shaking hands with anyone outside of your immediate household
- Sharing cosmetics or personal grooming devices (razors, makeup brushes, etc.) with others
- Interacting with pets outside of your personal pets, or allowing your pets to interact with anyone outside of your immediate household
What places should I avoid during the pandemic?
The following places should be avoided as much as possible. In situations where you must visit these places, you should wear a properly fitting masks for your entire stay:
- Bowling alleys
- Indoor gyms – choose outdoor venues or home workouts instead
- Indoor sports & recreational facilities
- Movie theaters
- Restaurants – choose pickup or delivery instead
- Ride shares or public transportation – wear a mask, avoid unnecessarily touching surfaces, and thoroughly wash your hands after each ride
Why should I wear a mask?
Masks are your last line of defense. Since we breathe through our nose and mouth, masks are the best way to significantly reduce the risk of getting tiny invisible breath droplets from other people’s noses & mouths inside your mouth. If nothing else, this pandemic has demonstrated how much spittle we exchange when we talk to each other up close. If you want to prevent other people’s potentially infected spit from getting in your mouth during a global airborne pandemic, cover all the holes in your face.
Eyes are also vulnerable to infection. Having an eye covering when you are out in a public place is best, though not always practical. Hand-to-eye infection is also possible if you touch your eyes after touching a contaminated surface.
How should the mask be worn?
Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting on your mask. Put the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin. Fit the mask snugly against the sides of your face, slipping the loops over your ears or tying the strings behind your head. Make sure you can breathe easily.
If you have to continually adjust your mask, it doesn’t fit properly, and you might need to find a different mask type or brand. For more information on masks see this CDC resource.
Should I get vaccinated?
Receiving a COVID vaccine is critically important in our fight against this disease. Because we can’t be sure whether COVID-19 infection for someone will result in severe illness (eg., hospitalization or death) or even a mild case with longer-lasting complications (e.g., damage to the heart, lungs, or brain), vaccination is essential in reducing the risk of getting sick from this disease.
I already had COVID, do I need to get vaccinated?
We still recommend getting the vaccine even if you’ve previously had COVID. Although you have some level of protection from a previous infection, it’s inconsistent from person to person, and we have seen individuals get sick from reinfection. Vaccination will help your body to develop more robust immune protection against COVID.
Is the vaccine safe?
These vaccines have undergone rigorous testing through clinical trials and intense scrutiny to ensure that they are both safe and effective. Typically, clinical trails were considered “large” if they enrolled a few thousand people. Both of the currently available vaccines underwent even larger trials, with Pfizer enrolling over 40,000 people and Moderna enrolling 30,000 people. All this was to ensure these vaccines were safe for people to take and effective in fighting COVID.
How can I get vaccinated?
Vaccine distribution varies state-by-state, please refer to your state’s information site (where available) to find information and register for the vaccine:
- American Samoa
- District of Columbia
- Marshall Islands
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- West Virginia
I'm getting vaccinated, what should I expect?
When you receive your injection in your arm, the muscle cells at the injection site receive the cheat codes from the vaccine and read the file on COVID. The cells start producing non-infectious pieces of the virus to store away in your immune system’s databank. Your body makes matching antibodies that are ready to attack COVID the next time you get infected with the goal of preventing serious illness.
Vaccines are for protection, and they exist so that the next time you get infected, your body has what it needs to fight off infection. The process your body goes through when it finds an intruder present is similar to what happens as your body reacts to the knowledge it learns from the vaccine. Just like when you may take a flu shot and feel a bit under the weather for a few days, you may feel some temporary minor discomfort and fatigue from the COVID vaccine.
In rare cases, some serious side effects have been reported. For more information please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/after.html.
How much will the vaccine cost me?
The vaccine is free of charge to everyone, whether you have insurance or not. Some vaccine registration sites ask for insurance information because if you have insurance, your provider will be billed for your vaccination. If you do not have insurance, the vaccine is still free to you. Just bypass the insurance question on the form or indicate that you are uninsured. You should not be denied a vaccination.
What if I don't want to get vaccinated?
Getting vaccinated is vital for your health, the health of your family and community, and essential to get humans closer to herd immunity. Working towards herd immunity is a battle of the species. If you do not want a vaccination, you have essentially betrayed humanity. What we’re risking here is the virus learning and evolving more quickly than it ever could or should or would under normal circumstances, and generating more dangerous mutations. By not getting vaccinated, you are offering yourself up to the virus as another host, another lab rat for the virus’s research about how to best kill humans. STOP GIVING IT HOSTS!
use the links below to find out where you and others can get vaccinated:
volunteers are critical to the work we do. we’re currently looking for people who are interested in making a difference in the following areas:
guerrilla guides to help amplify education & advocacy
administrative office help
join the movement