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COVID-19 and Health Inequities

Posted by on May 21st, 2020 Posted in: Health Information, Minority Health Concerns, Public Health
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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, so does the propagation of information about the health equity issues and disparities marginalized communities experience. The American Medical Association (AMA) created a web page dedicated to the topic of health equity, with resources about the impact on marginalized and minority communities, including racial and ethnic minorities and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provides a Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) collection, including research, news releases, as well as posts from their Culture of Health Blog.

Current research on testing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not include a demographic breakdown, but does include an assessment of risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness, which include race/ethnicity, poverty, and working in certain occupations. When considering occupational work and the implications on health, see the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) National Compensation Survey, which found 76% of civilian workers had paid sick leave compared to 91% of state and local government workers.  The BLS conducts the Survey of Occupational Illness and Injuries (SOII), providing detailed case and demographic data on missed work days; release of the 2019 data is scheduled for November 4, 2020. The BLS also provides reports and programs demonstrating how the COVID-19 Pandemic is affecting the U.S. workforce, including employer-sponsored health and retirement benefits.

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is dedicated to research on minority communities. NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and NIMHD Director Dr. Eliseo Pérez-Stable sat down to discuss data collection about the virus, mortality rates, and commodities based on demographic factors, as well as socio-economic factors, reveal health disparities. For access to the text version of this interview, visit the NIH Director’s Blog. The National Library of Medicine, another NIH institute, responded to the need to disseminate research based on this data by increasing access via PubMed Central. Future research and publications will illustrate how historical health inequities accelerated the spread of a novel, non-discriminatory coronavirus.

Visit the CDC and NIH for the latest information on COVID-19.

Image of the author ABOUT Nora Franco
Nora Franco (she/her/ella) works as the Consumer Health Librarian for NNLM PSR at UCLA. She is passionate about eliminating health disparities and empowering people to participate in their healthcare by locating reliable health information.

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This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012344 with the University of Utah, Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library.​

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