WENATCHEE — Dr. Mabel Bodell has made significant contributions in educating the Latino community with valuable COVID-19 information.
Bodell is a nephrologist and member of the Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council at Confluence Health.
From as far back as 2012 when Bodell was an assistant professor at John Hopkins University, she was writing for local Spanish-language newspapers and doing radio interviews for community outreach. Bodell’s mission has always been to get the right information to the Latino community in an accessible way.
Quick, educational videos are her forte, and many of them are filmed in her free time.
When the pandemic had just begun, she recounted her experience in the ICU on camera. She witnessessed the most critically ill patients with COVID-19 undergo kidney failure. Half of them do not survive, according to Bodell. She asked for help from the Latino community to help curb the spread.
The video has over 11,000 views on YouTube. Bodell’s concern about the pandemic is genuine and that has resonated with a lot of people.
Too many of these patients looked like family members, she said in a Town Hall meeting back in November. In August last year, Latinos accounted for 80% of COVID-19 cases in Chelan-Douglas counties, according to the health district.
The percentage has dropped down since then. It has plateaued at around 50% since November, a number which is still too high, according to Bodell. But since Latinos represent only about 30% of the population in the counties, they still remain the most vulnerable group, according to Bodell.
"COVID-19 pushed all the health disparities to the surface," Bodell said. "They existed before, but now they are obvious."
Her work and advocacy has not gone unnoticed. The city of Wenatchee awarded Bodell the 2020 Civil Rights and Social Justice awards. And U.S. Sen. Patty Murray awarded Bodell the Golden Tennis Shoe Award.
“Dr. Bodell took it upon herself to solve a problem she saw in her community, and I have no doubt that she’s saved lives in our state because of her tireless work,” Murray said in a Facebook post.