Welcome to the Black Equity Coalition

The Black Equity Coalition (BEC) supports the creation of equitable systems to affirm the dignity of every human being through collaborations, networks, and policymaking.

The Black COVID-19 Equity Coalition is comprised of a group of physicians, researchers, epidemiologists, public health and health care practitioners, social scientists, community funders, and government officials concerned about addressing COVID-19 in vulnerable populations. 


Originally focused on responding to COVID-19, the Coalition quickly realized that the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on the health, well-being, and economic stability of people of color highlighted the need to address institutional racism and structural impediments that continue to plague Black, undervalued and underserved communities. Thus, the Black COVID-19 Equity Coalition committed to working on matters of racial equity beyond the pandemic’s eventual end and became the Black Equity Coalition.



James Harris (412) 418-0555

Black Equity Coalition Statement on Masks

Pittsburgh, PA, March 15, 2022 – On 2/25/22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed their recommendations and data metrics for determining whether masks should be required indoors. As a result of these changes, Allegheny County was indicated as a “low” based on new metrics on “Community COVID-19 Level.” This low level indicates masking is optional, but people with symptoms, a positive test or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.”


However, The Black Equity Coalition would like to highlight that the new CDC recommendations indicate that local communities should consider the exposure to risks in decision-making. Given the racial inequities in exposure, cases, hospitalizations and vaccinations in Allegheny County (e.g., 12.9% of the population is Black, but comprise 15.8% of positive cases, 24.9% of hospitalizations and 14.3% of deaths, in many majority Black neighborhoods the Fully Vaccinated is under 50%), the BEC is in full support of continued public health measures to mitigate risk of exposure and transmission of COVID. Additionally, those who are immunocompromised, people with underlying health conditions and children under 5 who cannot be vaccinated are still at risk and should be taken under consideration. The BEC recommends continued mask wearing in most indoor public settings, and urge all, especially in retail stores, gyms, theaters, large social gatherings and on public transportation to wear a securely fitted mask.


“Although masks may no longer be required indoors in many parts of the U.S., we know that wearing a well-fitted mask is an effective way to protect ourselves and our communities, including the most vulnerable, from COVID-19—particularly in indoor settings when physical distancing is not possible.” “Wearing a mask, physical distancing, and staying home if you’re sick are small, but important protective measure that can help us all stay safe. While the Omicron surge has declined, COVID-19 is not gone. We must remain adaptable and vigilant in confronting this unpredictable virus.”

Gerald E. Harmon, M.D.

President, American Medical Association


The Black Equity Coalition (BEC) grew from a group of concerned colleagues who came together in April 2020 to discuss the disproportionate COVID-19, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among Black people in comparison to White people in Allegheny County and Nationally.


For the past 2 years, the BEC has been working in groups that focus on eliminating the inequities in the areas of the social determents of health: (1) Economic Stability, (2) Education, (3) Health and Health Care,(4) Neighborhood and Built Environment, and (5) Social and Community Context.


The POISE Foundation serves as the Fiscal Sponsor for the Black Equity Coalition.

Upcoming Events

  • August Wilson Birthday Celebration
    Apr 30, 11:00 AM
    Pittsburgh, Bedford Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA
    August Wilson Birthday Celebration is Back! After a two year hiatus we are excited to announce a date for a #LIVE, #inperson August Wilson Birthday Celebration #blockparty. Please join us at the August Wilson House and several surrounding blocks in The Hill District as we celebrate the great America
  •  Pennsylvania Health Equity Summit - American Lung Association
    Apr 06, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM EDT
    Pittsburgh, 4200 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
    Registration for the Health Equity Summit 2022 is now open! Here are the details you will not want to miss.

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Meet the Black Equity Coalition

The Black Equity Coalition is comprised of doctors, community leaders, community members, and philanthropists who work in unison to create an equitable community for Black and Brown families in and around the Pittsburgh area. Like us on Facebook and follow us YouTube and Instagram to stay in the know!


Our Approach

We seek to establish a co-leadership coordinated collaborative strategic partnership model, using clustered social determinants of health as identifiers to target needed wrap-around services through local nonprofit organizations. 
We also plan to optimize the Federally Qualified Health Center’s (FQHC’s) community-oriented preventive and primary health care services for medically underserved and to address the Structural, Political, and Social Determinants of Health for the under-resourced, ethnic minorities, undocumented persons, and other vulnerable populations. Below is a graphic display of our organizational makeup. Email us at to get involved!


What the Data Says

The Black Equity Coalition Data Group provides real-time COVID-19 updates. Click the chart above to see the most up-to-date information for Allegheny County. Information can be found on


Our Projected Results


Create and sustain a culture that values self-sufficiency


Build capacity for internal monitoring for continuous improvement


Employ external evaluation for mission effectiveness


Co-create emerging responses that produce systemic change within the hubs.


Share learnings to promote systems change through rapid prototyping.

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Leadership Huddle

The Black Equity Coalition is a network of government officials, scientists, academics, and community organizations who prioritize the health of black and brown residents. Click the logos below to learn more about our leadership organizations. 


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