The COVID-19 pandemic is the newest chapter within the “Story of Two Well being Programs” saga that has performed out within the U.S. throughout each public well being disaster relationship again centuries. The pandemic has disproportionately devastated communities of color, proving that we will now not ignore the necessity to handle 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 affect of COVID-19 on communities of shade 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, with regards to pandemics, now we have by no means been profitable in taking what we’ve realized to make sure sources attain these in biggest want. So, how will 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 neighborhood realized that information availability—or the dearth thereof—was a key drawback. Though there have traditionally been challenges in information assortment and reporting in these communities, the COVID-19 pandemic supplies a possibility to show the tide for our most susceptible. As a nation, we should prioritize and put money into the function 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 companies.
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 area. As we started exploring methods to beat the info drawback, we partnered with the CDC Basis to carry various 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 information are already being collected and to determine the info gaps that at present exist.
By this cross-sector collaborative course of, we realized 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 approach to just do that. Over the last eight months, a staff 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 determine and analyze high quality public information sources with the objective of making an easy-to-use, public dealing with information platform that shows and contextualizes well being disparities communities of shade face all through the U.S.
This Well being Fairness Tracker will map information 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 essential components right down to the county degree, the place obtainable. The info, 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 sources and assist they want, such because the creation of culturally related sources 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 Venture is only one approach through which information and know-how are serving to communities of shade hardest hit by COVID-19. We now know sufficient to know there’s nonetheless extra to be accomplished.
We need to concern a call-to-action throughout all sectors—public, personal, tutorial—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 achieve your audience, and the way you would possibly leverage these information and insights to assist remedy one of the vital urgent humanitarian problems with our time. By our work constructing the Well being Fairness Tracker, we proceed to search out significant gaps in race and ethnicity case data, and till now we have 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, various working teams and federal insurance policies are additionally essential to deepen the affect of the essential work we’ve began. If we harness the facility of information and know-how to handle well being inequities, constructing a transformative and inclusive response to COVID-19 is totally doable.