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Pictured here are Lisa Sloane and her Dad, Timothy W. Sloane. As an adult, he suffered from diabetes and related strokes. He succumbed to lung cancer in 2010. Lisa says, “My father’s life was severely impacted by social determinants of health and thus, so was mine. I take health disparities personally.”

COVID-19: Run Toward Health Equity

Together, we are facing unprecedented disruption. As we see the fault lines in the form of health disparities, many thought leaders in the United States are running toward health equity.

It is not a coincidence that our urban, low-income communities in Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, New York City, and elsewhere are central to the hot spots of COVID-19 outbreaks. Our diverse citizens, especially Black/African American and Latinx populations, already faced entrenched health disparities. Chronic conditions and social determinants of health inequities are all risk factors for complications and death from COVID-19.

Predictably, black and brown people will collectively be the most impacted by this pandemic. Health equity champions across the country are pointing out the structural barriers inherent in the algorithms that determine who gets testing, treatment, and economic relief from COVID-19. We are already experiencing devasting levels of disease, death, and soon – exponential economic effects on our most vulnerable communities. Below, please see health system executive blogs for facts and poignant perspectives on these issues.

On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, Senator Sherrod Brown joined Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris in introducing the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act. The bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect and report race, ethnicity, zip code, and other demographic data on COVID-19 testing, treatment, and fatality rates. This data will help state and federal governments, as well as businesses and foundations, determine where to direct scarce resources.

I would contend that disaggregating data is most important at the local level. American health systems and hospitals do not need to wait for direction from HHS to consistently collect and disaggregate their data. The vast majority of health systems and hospitals already have electronic medical record fields to collect basic demographic data, including race, ethnicity, and preferred language (REAL). However, based on More Inclusive Healthcare research, only about 20% of healthcare facilities surveyed are currently disaggregating this data to identify and resolve disparities. And when health systems and hospitals are desperately working to save patient lives, they can use help with the data analytics needed to understand and focus on the disparities impacting their vulnerable patient populations.

That’s why this week, I am especially excited to share COVID-19 dashboards created by the UChicago Medicine (UCM) team. They have generously shared these Tableau-based dashboard templates to help colleagues nationwide with reporting and analysis of their own COVID-19 data. The templates are meant to be a public good to help other systems and to highlight some of the variables UCM is examining, including the key element of disaggregation by various demographic data points, including race. Please note that the sample data that populates the dashboards does not reflect UCM’s patient population or outcomes, past or present.

More Inclusive Healthcare will continue to run with you toward health equity. We hope you find these resources valuable.

Best Regards,
Lisa Sloane
Founder and CEO


ARTICLES

COVID-19: Investing in Black Lives and Livelihoods

  • Using key indicators, this article outlines the disproportionate health, social, and economic disruption Black communities face as result of COVID-19
  • Lays out opportunities to invest in addressing structural challenges to help black Americans recover, build, and sustain more equitable communities

Aria Florant, Nick Noel, Shelley Stewart, III, and Jason Wright, McKinsey & Company
April 2020


RESOURCES

Data & Analytics at UChicago Medicine

COVID-19 Dashboards (including fields for various demographic data points)

UChicago Medicine
April 2020

Seven Best Practices for REAL Data Collection

More Inclusive Healthcare
2018


THOUGHT LEADER BLOGS

During public health crises, equity should be central to solutions

Covers inequities and the communities currently most at-risk, as well as the health and economic ramifications.

Qiana Thomason, CEO, Health Forward Foundation
March 2020

The Great Magnifier: How COVID19 Makes Inequities Visible (PART 1)

Lays out the historical foundation on which American power and political structures rest, dating back to the 16th century. Advocates for addressing systemic inequities and setting equitable policies, practices, and recommendations for screening, treatment, and training.

Michellene Davis, Chief Social Impact Change Agent, RWJBarnabas Health
April 2020

More Inclusive Healthcare (MIH) can help your organization with community engagement, such as setting up testing sites with community partners in your region, educational messaging, and staff data collection training to meet your immediate needs. More Inclusive Healthcare is a small, woman-minority owned social enterprise. Like many of our clients, partners, and contractors, we are being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please consider More Inclusive Healthcare as you strategize on reaching vulnerable and diverse patient populations as well as training your staff to continue to do the good work of making healthcare more inclusive and equitable—so that everyone will have the opportunity to achieve their full health potential.

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