COVID-19 has exposed health care disparities long known and discussed in medical and public policy literature. While there have been many discussions regarding our “offense” – how to attack a global pandemic (vaccines, treatment algorithms, etc), there has also been a renewed interest regarding our “defense” (limiting exposure, strengthening the host) – i.e., how to protect our most vulnerable populations. In June 2020, The U.S. Health and Human Services Department announced a $40 million, three-year partnership with the Morehouse School of Medicine to focus on this topic. As described by Danie Dawes (director of Morehouse’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute), this national COVID-19 resiliency network (NCRN) will focus on at-risk communities and social determinants of health. With a few policy changes this “perfect storm” (deadly virus + high exposure + overly susceptible hosts) might not have occurred, so it is imperative that we learn from mistakes of the past and act quickly so that lives may be saved. While we work on vaccines, better testing options and social distancing – our defense for the next pandemic can begin now by creating a healthier society for us all. Health equity is needed now more than ever.
"COVID-19 and African Americans: A Problem Decades in the Making,"
Journal of Public Management & Social Policy: Vol. 28:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalscholarship.tsu.edu/jpmsp/vol28/iss1/3