Purnell to Lead St. Louis Team Responding to COVID-19

Community Engagement; Faculty; Public Health

The Brown School’s Jason Purnell will lead a response team of over 40 St. Louis area nonprofits, social service agencies and governments to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 Regional Response team aims to help people navigate resources and get help with needs including employment, food, housing, child care and legal aid.

Purnell is an associate professor whose research focuses on how socioeconomic and cultural factors influence health behaviors and outcomes. He is the director of Health Equity Works, a Brown School initiative committed to translating research into community action to advance health equity in St. Louis.

“Our region’s most vulnerable populations are historically underserved and this pandemic requires us to provide care and services in ways that no individual agency can accomplish on its own,” Purnell said. “An equitable response to this pandemic requires that we focus our attention on those at greatest risk of contracting this virus and those whose lives were lived in risk before this crisis.”

Mary McKay, Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School, said Purnell’s leadership of the response team was welcome news for St. Louis.

“Jason Purnell is the ideal leader for this effort to address the needs of our community at risk and deliver help to those who need it most,” said McKay. “Serving the St. Louis region is a top priority of the Brown School, and this effort is one of many our faculty are making to respond to this crisis.”