The COVID-19 pandemic is the newest 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 handle well being inequities in an actual manner. This risk is so existential in nature that in line with a latest CDC study, African Individuals misplaced 2.7 years of life expectancy whereas Latinx people misplaced almost 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 essentially the most throughout pure disasters, wars, pandemics and different main crises. And, in relation to pandemics, we’ve got by no means been profitable in taking what we’ve realized to make sure assets attain these in biggest want. So, how can we obtain an equitable, proactive response when there’s not an equitable basis, blueprint or clear start line?
Early on within the pandemic, the general public well being group realized that knowledge availability—or the dearth thereof—was a key drawback. Though there have traditionally been challenges in knowledge assortment and reporting in these communities, the COVID-19 pandemic gives a possibility to show the tide for our most susceptible. As a nation, we should prioritize and put money into the position of information and know-how in closing the hole of disparities in outcomes and in driving equitable entry to testing, vaccines and supply of well being providers.
Since its inception, the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) at Morehouse Faculty of Medication in Atlanta has been a trailblazer within the well being fairness house. As we started exploring methods to beat the information drawback, we partnered with the CDC Basis to convey numerous leaders to the desk to kind 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 knowledge are already being collected and to determine the information gaps that at the moment exist.
By means of this cross-sector collaborative course of, we realized that if we will gather and clearly current the information, 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 just do that. Over the past eight months, a crew of Google.org fellows, together with Google software program engineers, product managers, UX researchers and designers, knowledge analysts and extra have been working with SHLI to determine and analyze high quality public knowledge sources with the purpose of making an easy-to-use, public dealing with knowledge platform that shows and contextualizes well being disparities communities of coloration face all through the U.S.
This Well being Fairness Tracker will map knowledge on the trajectory of COVID-19 instances, hospitalizations, deaths and vaccinations throughout the U.S., together with its territories, damaged down by race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic standing and different crucial components right down to the county degree, 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 data associated to COVID-19 vaccines, to battle the virus and shut racial gaps.
However the Well being Fairness Tracker Challenge is only one manner through which knowledge and know-how are serving to communities of coloration hardest hit by COVID-19. We now know sufficient to know there’s nonetheless extra to be completed.
We wish to concern a call-to-action throughout all sectors—public, personal, educational—to come back to the desk. We implore you to zoom out in your group to have a look at the way you’re utilizing know-how to succeed in your target market, and the way you would possibly leverage these knowledge and insights to assist remedy one of the crucial urgent humanitarian problems with our time. By means of our work constructing the Well being Fairness Tracker, we proceed to search out significant gaps in race and ethnicity case data, and till we’ve got the total image, we gained’t be capable of really perceive and handle 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 instances, hospitalizations, deaths and vaccines on the county degree.
A nationwide technique, ongoing and substantial investments, numerous working teams and federal insurance policies are additionally essential to deepen the impression of the essential work we’ve began. If we harness the ability of information and know-how to deal with well being inequities, constructing a transformative and inclusive response to COVID-19 is completely potential.