The COVID-19 pandemic is the most recent chapter within the “Story of Two Well being Techniques” saga that has performed out within the U.S. throughout each public well being disaster courting again centuries. The pandemic has disproportionately devastated communities of color, proving that we will not ignore the necessity to tackle well being inequities in an actual approach. This menace is so existential in nature that in response to a current CDC study, African Individuals misplaced 2.7 years of life expectancy whereas Latinx people misplaced practically two years of life expectancy.
To these of us who’ve devoted our careers to dismantling these inequities, the deep impression of COVID-19 on communities of coloration was not a shock. All through our nation’s historical past, the identical deprived teams endure probably the most throughout pure disasters, wars, pandemics and different main crises. And, in terms of pandemics, we’ve by no means been profitable in taking what we’ve discovered to make sure assets attain these in best want. So, how will we obtain an equitable, proactive response when there’s not an equitable basis, blueprint or clear place to begin?
Early on within the pandemic, the general public well being group realized that information availability—or the dearth thereof—was a key downside. Though there have traditionally been challenges in information assortment and reporting in these communities, the COVID-19 pandemic gives a chance to show the tide for our most susceptible. As a nation, we should prioritize and put money into the position of information and expertise in closing the hole of disparities in outcomes and in driving equitable entry to testing, vaccines and supply of well being companies.
Since its inception, the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) at Morehouse College of Drugs in Atlanta has been a trailblazer within the well being fairness area. As we started exploring methods to beat the info downside, we partnered with the CDC Basis to convey various leaders to the desk to type the Health Equity Task Force. We then invited Google.org, Gilead Sciences and the Annie E. Casey Basis to the desk to assist us perceive what well being fairness information are already being collected and to establish the info gaps that presently exist.
By means of this cross-sector collaborative course of, we discovered that if we will gather and clearly current the info, we will present the idea for driving the response towards the areas in most want. The Health Equity Tracker Project was created as a solution to do exactly that. Over the past eight months, a group of Google.org fellows, together with Google software program engineers, product managers, UX researchers and designers, information analysts and extra have been working with SHLI to establish and analyze high quality public information sources with the aim of making an easy-to-use, public going through information platform that shows and contextualizes well being disparities communities of coloration face all through the U.S.
This Well being Fairness Tracker will map information on the trajectory of COVID-19 circumstances, hospitalizations, deaths and vaccinations throughout the U.S., together with its territories, damaged down by race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic standing and different essential elements all the way down to the county stage, the place out there. The information, in flip, will assist coverage makers, well being care executives and enterprise leaders higher perceive how to make sure disproportionately affected communities obtain the focused assets and help they want, such because the creation of culturally related assets for community-based organizations to assist construct confidence and bolster equitable entry to info associated to COVID-19 vaccines, to battle the virus and shut racial gaps.
However the Well being Fairness Tracker Undertaking is only one approach by which information and expertise are serving to communities of coloration hardest hit by COVID-19. We now know sufficient to know there’s nonetheless extra to be finished.
We wish to challenge a call-to-action throughout all sectors—public, personal, tutorial—to return to the desk. We implore you to zoom out in your group to have a look at the way you’re utilizing expertise to achieve your target market, and the way you may leverage these information and insights to assist clear up one of the crucial urgent humanitarian problems with our time. By means of our work constructing the Well being Fairness Tracker, we proceed to seek out significant gaps in race and ethnicity case data, and till we’ve the total image, we received’t be capable of actually perceive and tackle the disparities within the COVID-19 pandemic within the U.S. Contact your native, state or federal representatives to advocate for centralized, complete reporting on COVID-19 circumstances, hospitalizations, deaths and vaccines on the county stage.
A nationwide technique, ongoing and substantial investments, various working teams and federal insurance policies are additionally essential to deepen the impression of the essential work we’ve began. If we harness the facility of information and expertise to deal with well being inequities, constructing a transformative and inclusive response to COVID-19 is totally doable.