A guide to clinics and organizations that serve the Black community in California

Black and Hispanic/Latino communities have been hit considerably harder than white communities by COVID-19, according to CDC data. For instance, Black and Hispanic/Latino patients died at rates six times higher than white patients among those aged 45-54. 

While these numbers may seem shocking, they are unsurprising to those familiar with healthcare research. Racial disparities such as those revealed by the CDC data are all too common in the United States—the current coronavirus crisis has merely brought them to the surface. 

Black patients have lower levels of health insurance coverage compared to white populations. They are also less likely to be referred to diagnostic services, preventative screening, or specialists. Overall, Black patients receive a lower quality of care than white patients. These, among other factors, possibly contribute to worse health outcomes for Black patients. 

At Honeybee Health, we are doing our part to fill the coverage gap between privileged and marginalized communities by providing access to a high-quality, low-cost pharmacy that doesn’t require insurance coverage.  

We recognize prescription medication access represents just one part of a larger, systemic problem within the U.S. healthcare system. Below, we’ve compiled a guide to a handful of California-based non-profits and other organizations that are working to help provide healthcare access to Black communities.

California Black Women’s Health Project

The California Black Women’s Health Project is dedicated to “improving the health of California’s 1.2 million Black women and girls through advocacy, education, outreach, and policy.” They serve San Bernardino, Fresno, Marin City, Vallejo, Oakland, and Stockton. 

They focus on specific health areas such as mental health, maternal health, HIV/STDs, violence prevention, reproductive justice, and aging. They also have a series of programs such as Sisters Mentally Mobilized, which is an Oakland/Bay Area-based support group and speaker series that meets (virtually during COVID-19) to discuss mental health topics. 

The Bay Area Community Health Advisory Council

The Bay Area Community Health Advisory Council works hard to eliminate “health disparities across generations and diverse communities through education and services.” They provide a series of helpful resources such as annual breast cancer education, free mammograms, prostate cancer screenings, free exercise classes, free flu vaccinations, free vision screenings, and cholesterol/glucose/blood pressure screenings, among others. 

They also have a dedicated collection of COVID-19 resources and a “Wellness Where You Are” online summer series. 

Black AIDS Institute

The Black AIDS Institute is “revolutionizing the HIV service industry to center and uplift Black experiences to allow Black people to live their fullest, healthiest lives with dignity, care, and respect.” 

While this is a national organization, they have some programs specific to Los Angeles. One is the “A Clinic for Us,” a clinic developed in partnership with St. John’s Well Child and Family that provides Black patients with access to HIV counseling, testing, PrEP linkage, HIV treatment, and other HIV-related tests and resources. 

They also support Revolution in Color, a mentorship program for young, Black men that focuses on personal success, development, and the prevention of HIV. 

Rafiki Coalition

The Rafiki Coalition makes it their mission to “eliminate health inequities in San Francisco’s Black and marginalized communities.” They provide a wide variety of resources, including health education, exercise classes, health screenings, transitional housing, advocacy, case management services for patients with HIV/AIDS, and mental health support. 

They also provide a series of online mental health resources specifically designed to help reduce stress and anxiety during COVID-19. 

Black Women for Wellness

Black Women for Wellness believes in supporting and empowering “health communities where Black women and girls have the ability and resources to grow strong and soar.” They provide many different programs and services, including a sex education program, a voting advocacy group, a Black maternal and infant health program, healthy cooking classes, diabetes prevention, and multiple community forums, among others.

Jessica Nouhavandi