The mutual existence of COVID-19 and racism has come to be best understood as a syndemic, given their synergistic interaction contributing to an excess burden of disease (Freeman, 2020). The syndemic of racism and COVID-19 illuminates the fact that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are disproportionately impacted by adverse events, such as pandemics. The effects of racism on BIPOC communities, particularly Black and Brown communities, is a long-standing and ongoing phenomenon. Despite the recent rise in awareness and attention among the wider public resulting from mass media attention to police shootings, widespread xenophobia, and anti-Asian hate crimes, racism and its insidious effects on every system in our society, including healthcare, are pervasive. Within the U.S. healthcare system, racism has undermined the health of BIPOC communities, including BIPOC healthcare practitioners, by widening the gaps of health disparities through diminished access to quality services, stigma, discrimination and a legacy of mistrust in health care institutions. As healthcare providers, it is in the interest of the communities we serve that we have an understanding of race, social determinants of health and the resulting health disparities. Understanding these issues is the first step in developing effective strategies and interventions to address the need for equitable, quality health care for all. The focus of this presentation is to a). provide an overview of the current literature on the trends and patterns of healthcare disparities, particularly as it relates to COVID, b). provide case examples of the lived experiences of these disparities, and c). provide introductory information about potential strategies and interventions. This presentation is one of a series of 3 at this conference on Race and Health Equity hosted by the Just Medicine Team. The other two presentations will cover strategies and interventions to address health inequities and the impact of racism on BIPOC providers.
- Describe how the synergistic interaction of COVID-19 and racism has contributed to health inequities.
- Identify negative effects of racism and discrimination on the health of BIPOC communities.
- Identify two strategies/interventions to address health disparities.