On April 29, 2023, the NFL Alumni Association and the Shelby County Health Department joined forces to host a town hall discussion in Memphis, Tennessee, featuring former NFL stars, Tennessee Titans legends, local physicians, and public health experts. Held at the Anointed Temple of Praise (ATOP) Christian Church, the event was part of the “GEAR UP, Tennessee!” statewide vaccine awareness and education campaign. Attendees had the opportunity to meet the players and have their questions answered about health concerns, including learning more about boosters.

Rep. Joe Towns and Erika Lathon co-moderated the event

GEAR UP, Tennessee! Campaign

The GEAR UP! campaign aims to engage underserved communities and minority populations in Tennessee, raising awareness about actions they can take to improve health and wellness, including staying up-to-date on their boosters. NFL Alumni Tennessee Chapter president and former All-Pro Houston Oilers linebacker Al Smith emphasized the importance of the town hall in addressing the Memphis community’s health and wellness concerns.

from left to right – Neil O’Donnell, Brad Hopkins, Al Smith, Michelle Taylor, Jamaine S. Davis, Cyrilyn A. Walters.

Notable Participants

The town hall featured several notable participants such as Al Smith, Brad Hopkins, Neil O’Donnell, and Chris Sanders, alongside local health experts like Michelle Taylor MD, Jamaine S. Davis, PhD, Cyrilyn A. Walters MD, and State Rep. Joe Towns, Jr. State Rep. Towns highlighted the event’s significance, stating that such informational sessions are crucial for bringing communities together to learn how to better protect themselves and their neighbors against serious illnesses.

Addressing Health Inequities

Shelby County Health Department Director, Michelle Taylor MD, spoke on the significant health inequities in Shelby County, which disproportionately affect African American residents. Partnering with the NFL Alumni Tennessee Chapter to bring the GEAR UP, Tennessee awareness and education campaign to Memphis is a crucial step in overcoming misinformation and ensuring equitable access to boosters for all communities.

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