NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The virus that does not discriminate exposed for all to see the health disparities that played a role in who contracted, who was sickened or who was killed by COVID-19.

Melody Armstrong, an instructor from the department of nursing and allied health at Norfolk State University, put shots in arms at numerous community clinics around the region during the peak of the pandemic.

“COVID brought to light some things that were under the cover, relative to people with disabilities, for instance, and their lack of access to care,” Armstrong said. “Many times they [patients] would stand in line and maybe get turned away because maybe they were deaf or maybe English wasn’t a first language.”

At community-based vaccination clinics across the region, Armstrong saw firsthand the long-term effects of health disparities.

“Everything from high blood pressure to diabetes to sickle cell — different chronic illnesses,” Armstrong said.

Next week, in what Armstrong said is a first of its kind, health professionals from NSU, Old Dominion University, Eastern Virginia Medical School and the Centers for Disease Control will use data to build a bridge to good health.

Regina Mobley: This will help the community be better prepared for the next pandemic?

Melody Armstrong: Yes. It’s a way to say, let’s look at these lessons. What can we come together and brainstorming up with recommendations strategies that we know are evidence-based that have worked.”

To register for the free event, see the QR code or contact Armstrong at