Race, gender, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation are common factors that determine risk in a health crisis, according to Metro Health, and COVID-19 is no exception.
Metro Health-University of Michigan Health is educating the community on these demographic health inequities through a video series available at metrohealth.net.
Featuring Dr. Rhae-Ann Booker, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Metro Health, the five videos address the important topics of health inequities, economic impact, building a culture of equity, xenophobia and preparing for the future.
Along with each video are resources for people to continue to educate themselves on the topics.
“During a crisis like we are facing with coronavirus, it becomes convenient to abandon commitments to principals of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Booker said. “This cannot be allowed to happen.”
As of mid-April, Black people made up 33% of all confirmed cases in Michigan and 40% of the deaths from COVID-19, according to the state health department. In addition, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported those with a lower household income level are at higher risk of serious illness if infected with the coronavirus.
Explanations for why these populations are experiencing higher COVID-19 infection rates include underlying health conditions, occupational environment and living situations. There also are barriers to seeking treatment that put some minorities at a disadvantage, such as a lack of health insurance and transportation, language barriers and a fear of trust.
“Even in the best of times, health care does not look the same for all people. It is not equitable. A pandemic shines a bright light on those inequities,” Booker said. “Metro Health is taking an even greater responsibility and accountability to educate the community on this topic and ensure no one is left behind.”
Visit metrohealth.net/covid-19-updates for the most up-to-date information from the CDC and resources to prevent the spread of COVID-19.