GRICUMA Gather for Holidays & Health
Gila River Indian News
The GRIC Urban Members Association (GRICUMA) held its annual holiday luncheon on Saturday, Dec. 17. At the gathering, food, toys for children, COVID-19 testing, and COVID-19 and Flu vaccinations were made available. The yearly meeting drew close to 100 urban Community members for an excellent time to round out the year while delivering crucial vaccinations and boosters for public safety this winter.
“I’m very thankful that the Community always keep the GRICUMA members in mind when there are opportunities to bring these opportunities for our population,” said Dr. Anthony Newkirk, GRICUMA chairperson. “Gatherings like this allow us to spread that holiday spirit and show that GRIC is doing their part to support us and provide these public health services for us.”
Gov. Lewis worked with the GRIC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to coordinate the vaccinations and testing on Dec. 17.
Both parties saw the holiday gathering as a great opportunity to administer testing and vaccinations at once, a strategy that proved effective. In addition, the luncheon took place at Dr. Newkirk’s Warriors Code establishment in downtown Phoenix, making it accessible to the urban member population.
The COVID-19 testing and vaccinations portion of the gathering was made possible through a partnership with the GRIC OEM and the Arizona Dept. of Health Services.
“When the Arizona Dept. of Health Services said they have resources for the Community in the form of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, the first thing thought of was the GRICUMA,” said Monica Ortiz, OEM. “The work our office mostly does, concerns the Community but I know that the urban members are also a priority that we need to work with so it great to provide this for them.”
Ortiz shared that vaccinations and testing were for all ages in attendance. She also noted that almost everyone that received a COVID vaccination was there for a second or third booster. Booster vaccinations were reassuring for her as they demonstrated the need for the last shots for urban members when vaccination sites aren’t as readily available or accessible.
Dr. Newkirk said another testing and vaccination event would soon occur in Casa Grande. A sizable urban member population resides in Casa Grande, so OEM hopes to provide a similar event for those Community members this winter.