Throughout the past few months, the push for social justice has grown significantly. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have heard about the inequities for people of color. I have taken in interest in this topic through my psychology class as well as my portfolio project. In my psychology class was where I started to really learn what inequities emerging majorities face in the healthcare system, and as someone who is white I think it is so important to learn what some people go through. Though I will never understand what it is like, I want to do my best to understand and create change for those people. I would like to enter the healthcare field, so I want to educate myself on these problems within the healthcare system and strive to create solutions.
In my portfolio project, where I focused on effectiveness and accessibility to COVID-19 testing, I researched an article that dove into a divide for people of color trying to be tested. These people were not able to go to drive-thru testing centers because they didn’t have a car, and therefore could not be tested. This is one of the problems that minorities have faced throughout the pandemic.
This article focuses on the problems of emerging majorities during the past few months. According to the article, in New York City, black people and latinos have a mortality rate from COVID-19 that is 1.6 to 2 times higher than white people. In Arizona, 16% of the deaths are Native Americans. Many people who work in the healthcare system, as well as officials and the general public, are working to solve this issue. The article addresses specific reasons why these inequities exist.
People of certain races, ethnicities, social position, and economic status could be more exposed to the virus because of their jobs, size of their family, child care, public transportation, etc. Some jobs don’t allow people to work from home and their children might be in child care. Some also rely on public transportation or live with many people at home. People who have faced poverty or discrimination often have chronic pychosocial stress that can eventually lead to inflammation. This develops a maladaptation that can cause an impaired response in the immune system to COVID-19. Unfortunately, these people may not have access to a primary care provider. To learn more about psychosocial stress I found an article that explains this in minorities. Oftentimes, minorities face stress because of economic status and not as much access and delivery to healthcare. Stress is associated with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and inflammation.
Black leaders in the healthcare profession have proposed immediate solutions such as recording data for races and ethnicities, access to current treatments, mobile testing, and communication with leaders that are trusted. The Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has worked to address these problems identifying and preventing inequities. They have created resources for COVID-19 to people who speak languages such as Arabic, Nepali, and Spanish. I didn’t realize that there were also inequities for people based on the language they spoke, so this was surprising to learn. I found an article that talks about inequities for Spanish speakers in healthcare. The article discussed how latino children who have limited English proficiency (LEP), are more likely to have compromised healthcare and parents have less communication with the provider which makes more dissatisfaction with the healthcare system. Although there are many inequities for people of color right now, there are so many solutions and people working to fix these problems. This relates to our goal in biology to learn about inequities in the healthcare system, especially during Black History Month.