They are traditionally marginalized across all social systems, but it’s more apparent today than ever due to the devastating effects of COVID-19 on BIPOC communities.In 2020, BIPOC account for 27.3% of the U.S. population (Census.gov, 2020), yet BIPOC account for 58.1% percent of all COVID-19 cases to-date (CDC.gov, 2020).Researchers and social scientists point to structural disparities as the main cause of the disproportionate COVID-19 infection rate among BIPOC (Cantos & Rebolledo, 2020; Valenzuela et al., 2020).The data shows that a consequential proportion of the BIPOC communities are essential or service-related workers with limited or no access to health care, lower socioeconomic and education status, overcrowded housing with limited ability to social distance, and limited or no access to personal protective equipment.These realities have created conditions where COVID-19 affects every aspect of the BIPOC social constructs.
Health disparities, i.e., differences in outcomes from disease experiences, are well-described and documented. The statistics that tell us of the incidence and prevalence of diseases within our populations (epidemiology) are readily available. In large measure, the prevalence (the number of cases within a population at any given time of measurement) of heart disease/high blood pressure, cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, infectious diseases (influenza, pneumonia) are all among the top ten causes of death for all population subgroups (source: Statistica.com).
Completing her second year as a pediatrics professor at the University of California, Riverside, Adwoa was focused on providing clinical training for her medical students. A retired UCR history professor, Carlos had no way of imagining that he would soon be joining the staff of a medical school..
Then the UCR School of Medicine decided to establish a new required curricular thread on Health Equity, Social Justice, and Anti-Racism.Shortly after that, the School asked Adwoa and Carlos to become co-directors of the thread in order to get it started.
It was decision time for the two of us.Still at an early stage of her medical teaching career, Adwoa had numerous obligations.Experienced in health care cultural competence training, Carlos had been giving annual workshops on that topic to UCR’s incoming medical students.But establishing an entire curricular thread?That was a challenge.But also an opportunity.We couldn’t turn it down.Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 14: Health Equity – by Carlos Cortés, Adwoa Osei→
It was the first day of the new academic term and our batch was bubbling with excitement. Our surgery posting had finally dawned. Now was our chance to step into the operation theatre and watch first hand as surgeons washed up and dutifully, saved lives. When most medical students envision medicine as a career, prior to entering medical school, they more often than not dream about wearing scrubs and operating to the rhythmic beats of all the life support and monitoring machines. Without doubt, the first visit to the operation theatre is one of the most cherished memories of any medical student.
We were assigned to our units and were very warmly received by our senior consultants. Cases were allotted for observation and by rotation, we were even allowed to wash up and assist in the procedures. It was a thrilling experience as we got to take incisions and operate laparoscopic instruments under expert supervision and this led to the birth of an unextinguishable spark that caused many of my colleagues to decide upon surgery as a future career choice.
Presenters for this Black-Jewish Dialogue session included Beverly Coulter, Pastor William Hicks, and Dr. Frank Miller with facilitators: Rabbi Craig Lewis of Mizpah Congregation and Deborah Levine, ADR Editor. The discussion included descriptions of the healthcare challenges facing the African-American community and the Jewish community, as well as mutual challenges in the COVID-19 era.
– Topics focused on both local (Chattanooga) and the larger healthcare equity picture and included:
The incidences of specific diseases in each community through genetics and/or economics
The affect of the environment on our health
Local and federal policies affecting health and healthcare
Food and nutritional challenges
Options that communities and religious organizations can consider implementing or intensifying
Alicia Mitchell, owner of The Smoothie Patch in Oak Ridge, TN, is helping communities understand how eating real food can by healthy: restore and maintain health.
Over the last 5 decades, Americans have had ill-fated food options that have become sources for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and non-alcoholic Fatty Liver disease (NASH), to name a few.
The Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times,” seems to be active today, activating our anxiety. Globally. The news sounds more and more like the most alarming drum roll. In the past few weeks, the world has been gripped by reports of terrorist plots and attacks in the US, in France, in Bangladesh, in Istanbul, in Baghdad, in Munich. Refugees from Syria are drowning by the hundreds as they desperately seek a safe foothold. Everywhere the number of the dead mounts.
When Dr. Joseph Betancourt spoke on “Solutions for Disparities: Delivering Quality Care to Diverse Populations” in Chattanooga TN, he delivered both unusual expertise and a personal model for future healthcare. Dr. Betancourt’s family came from Puerto Rico to NYC and he talked about his childhood as interpreter for his grandparents to their doctors. Today, Dr. Betancourt is Director of the Disparities Solution Center and Senior Scientist at the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital. With his medical degree, fellowship in Minority Health Policy and Masters from the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Betancourt is now a well-respected expert in cross-cultural medicine.
To achieve organizational cultural competence within the health care leadership and workforce, it is important to maximize diversity. This may be accomplished through:
• Establishing programs for minority health care leadership development and strengthening existing programs. The desired result is a core of professionals who may assume influential positions in academia, government, and private industry.
• Hiring and promoting minorities in the health care workforce.
• Involving community representatives in the health care organization’s planning and quality improvement meetings.
Providing patient care without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, or religion is a core value of all medical professionals. However, do they extend the same level of tolerance, stand against prejudice, with other members of their profession?