Momentum builds for Dr. Ala Stanford to be Philly’s next health commissioner
The founder of the Philadelphia Black Doctor’s COVID-19 Consortium has been the leader the city couldn’t provide during the pandemic.
In the aftermath of the resignation of Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley after it was revealed he ok’d the cremation and disposal of MOVE victim remains in 2017, the city said it would undergo a nationwide search to find his replacement.
It may not have to go far to actually find them, as momentum is building behind Philadelphia Black Doctor’s Consortium founder Dr. Ala Stanford.
She’s been the leader alongside the city in its year-plus fight with COVID-19. Her organization, specifically, has heavily focused on providing both testing and now vaccinations to Black and Brown communities across Philadelphia.
“It wasn’t like we set up shop and said: ‘Ok, if you need us, come to us.’ We went to the people and I believe we earned that trust,” Stanford said in a webinar hosted by the Community College of Philadelphia about the COVID-19 vaccine.
In the process, Stanford and her team have become the trusted messengers surrounding COVID-19 in those same communities. Her work has also catapulted her to national recognition.
Almost immediately following Farley’s resignation, Stanford’s name started appearing on social media as a potential replacement. The first came from Philly Mag Editor-at-Large Ernest Owens.
FYI: I nominate Dr. @alastanford for Philly's next City Health Commissioner.
I mean, who else is more worthy? I choose her!!!
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) May 13, 2021
On May 24, she picked up another major endorsement from Philadelphia City Councilmember Cindy Bass, who sent a letter to Mayor Jim Kenney in support of Stanford’s candidacy for the position.
The letter was first reported on by The Philadelphia Tribune.
In it, Bass advocated for Stanford’s appointment based on the previously-mentioned trust she’s built in Black communities.
She wrote that such trust is “vital” to getting the city where it needs to go in terms of overall progress and its bigger push towards equity coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After years of being treated like experiments and afterthoughts in this country, trust in healthcare professionals is essential for Black patients,” she is quoted as writing by The Tribune.
Bass also told The Tribune of a conversation she had with Stanford in the last week, saying that she was “very interested” in becoming Philly’s new top doctor.
Stanford grew up in Philly, but now lives in Montgomery County, and would be required to return to living in the city should she be selected. Before founding the Black Doctor’s Consortium, she worked as a pediatric surgeon.
As of May 24, there is no word on when the city’s search for Farley’s replacement will officially begin.