Covid-19 Response Reflection: Collaborating Deeply, Moving Fast

Similar to everyone, the pandemic hit me in a way that I had really never been taken out before. It was paralyzing and motivating all at the same time and the thing I realize I am most grateful for is being part of a community of doers here at TPW, and beyond, who are jumping in to figure it out and try to help.

Within this community, we quickly assembled a Covid-19-Response Brain Trust of TPW members to serve as a sounding board to the team, suggest content, share investment opportunities, and serve as a core peer group for TPW members who are looking to move quickly and need some guidance from trusted peers. This group has since evolved into the Global Health Action Lab.

I am also lucky enough to be a partner and Community Health Acceleration Partnership along with fellow TPW Member Jeff Walker and our other partner Austin Hearst. Our team at CHAP immediately involved ourselves in pulling the levers of systems change through the Covid-19 lens, from working with the National Governors Association, to pulling together a PPE fund with Direct Relief and Community Health Impact Coalition and leaning into the needs of our community health community.

It became clear quickly that we had to fight a battle on many fronts, globally and locally. PPE to community health workers everywhere became a priority which is when we decided to partner with CHIC and Direct Relief to ensure that PPE was delivered to community health workers throughout around the world so they could continue to provide lifesaving care to their communities.

As time went on, it was clear that another element that lacked attention was the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine and overall lack of trust in the system, especially among communities of color hard hit by the pandemic. While billions have been spent on “Operation Warp Speed” to develop a vaccine, a tiny fraction of the resources required for vaccine planning and communications has been made available, leaving cities, states, and community-based groups scrambling. There are also major coordination and leadership challenges, since the CDC has been so hamstrung—it’s unclear who is “in charge” of messaging.

Given these three challenges—around trust, around leadership, and around resources—CHAP has jumped in. We’re currently working with the CDC Foundation, Health Leads, and Convince USA to create communications plans and strategies—centered on equity—for regional and local governments and entities to help address vaccine hesitancy issues. We’ve authored a critical statement on centering equity within COVID-19 vaccine distribution and are co-hosting a webinar on generating trust. Other larger donors like CZI and Rockefeller are close partners in these efforts as well.

Finally, the last thing that I have been immersed in is the launch of a long-time project called Embark. Embark is a grassroots feminist fund that is centered around a community of changemakers, activists and members. We aim to steward funds, time and capacity to grassroots organizations doing ecosystem building in their community.

Covid-19 has made it clear how fragile the ecosystems are that foster justice and freedom across the world. Moving forward, my aim is to radically listen to the women who have been healing the world and give them what they need to do that work.

By: TPW member English Sall

English Sall is a data enthusiast and researcher at heart. English holds a Masters degree and is currently pursuing her PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology (IOP) at North Carolina State University. English specializes in Humanitarian Work Psychology and is interested in how IOP can be applied to cross-cultural leadership and work-force development within informal economies. English is also a board member of the Sall Family Foundation and is pursuing the role of a next gen philanthropist. Additionally, she is on the boards of CARE USA, The EndFund, Jacaranda, and Aspen Management Partnership for Health. English is also a member of Maverick Collective.

English is co-founder of the organization Impact Thread which uses IOP to address workforce and organizational development through a social good lens. Before co-founding Impact Thread, English was co-director for Aspen Institute’s Impact Careers Initiative.

English has also worked as a Data Strategist Fellow with Organize and as a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists-United Nations Liaison team. English is also the co-founder of Embark, a Gender Justice initiative powered by CARE. English served as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Social Science Research Institute Duke University in the Center for Advanced Hindsight. English is currently a principle at Community Health Acceleration Partnership as well as an Adjunct professor at UNC Gilling’s School of Global Public Health in the department of Health Behavior.

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