Town Hall Hosted by NFL Alumni Tennessee in partnership with Shelby County Health Department
MEMPHIS, TN (April 29, 2023) – The NFL Alumni Association (NFL Alumni) and the Shelby County Health Department teamed up to host a town hall discussion with former NFL stars and Tennessee Titans legends, local physicians and public health experts on community health and wellness. Attendees had the opportunity to meet the players and have their questions answered about health concerns, including learning more about boosters.
The event was part of the “GEAR UP, Tennessee!” statewide vaccine awareness and education campaign and took place at the Anointed Temple of Praise (ATOP) Christian Church in Memphis.
“Through the GEAR UP! campaign, we are looking to engage with underserved communities and minority populations in Tennessee to raise awareness of actions they can take to improve health and wellness, including staying up to date on their boosters,” said NFL Alumni Tennessee Chapter president and former All-Pro Houston Oilers linebacker Al Smith. “This town hall provided us an opportunity to speak with the Memphis community and get their questions answered about their health and wellness concerns.”
Among those participating in the town hall were: Smith; former Titans tackle Brad Hopkins; former Titans quarterback Neil O’Donnell; former Titans wide receiver Chris Sanders; Michelle Taylor MD, DrPH, MPH, Director – Health Officer, Shelby County Health Department; Jamaine S. Davis, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Cancer Biology at the School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College; Cyrilyn A. Walters MD, MPH, Medical Director, Ambulatory Services Director, Post COVID Clinic, Regional One Health and Assistant Professor, University of TN Health Science Center; and State Rep. Joe Towns, Jr.
“I was pleased to join the NFL Alumni Tennessee Chapter and the Shelby County Health Department for this important town hall, giving residents an opportunity to ask questions and get more information about their health and wellness, including boosters,” said State Rep. Towns. “Informational sessions such as this are a great way to bring the community together to learn more about how we can better protect ourselves and our neighbors against serious illness.”
The “GEAR UP, Tennessee!” campaign encourages all Tennesseans to get the facts about the bivalent booster and how it keeps our communities healthy, so they can make an informed decision about getting vaccinated. The campaign includes public events, media interviews, public service announcements, social media, town halls, listening sessions and mobile vaccine clinics in Memphis, Nashville and across the state.
“Significant health inequities exist in Shelby County that manifest in higher rates of negative health outcomes among African American residents. African Americans in Shelby County have higher rates of COVID-19 infection and many other vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Michelle Taylor MD, DrPH, MPH, Director – Health Officer, Shelby County Health Department. “We are pleased to partner with the NFL Alumni Tennessee Chapter to bring the GEAR UP, Tennessee awareness and education campaign to Memphis to help overcome misinformation that makes some people hesitant to get boosted to protect against disease. Making sure that all communities have equitable access to boosters is an important priority in Shelby County Health Department’s mission to promote, protect and improve the health of all in our county.”
Founded in 1967 by a small group of successful retired NFL players, NFL Alumni is one of the oldest and most well-respected retired player organizations in professional sports. NFL Alumni’s triple mission focuses on “caring for our own,” “caring for kids,” and “caring for the community.” NFL Alumni Tennessee is one of more than 40 local NFL Alumni chapters nationwide. For more information, visit www.NFLAGearUp.org/Tennessee.