The Senate Aging Committee conducted a hearing recently that examined ways to address COVID-19’s disparate health impacts on older adults in racial and ethnic minority communities.
The committee cited a New York Times analysis that shows Black and Latino Americans are infected with the virus at three times the rate as their white neighbors, and they are nearly twice as likely to die from the virus.
Dr. Dominic H. Mack (pictured), director of the Morehouse School of Medicine’s National Center for Primary Care, attributed the disproportionate impact COVID-19 is having to “health care challenges faced by racial and ethnic minorities” as well as a “glaring lack of health infrastructure in medically underserved communities.” He also spoke about an innovative partnership he is co-leading with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health to address COVID-19 in racial and ethnic minority, rural and other vulnerable populations.
Eugene Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health in Charlotte, NC, testified about his organization’s successes as well as lessons learned during the pandemic, specifically regarding the racial health disparities among older individuals that Atrium Health has witnessed. Woods made a series of policy recommendations for the next coronavirus relief package, including investments in public health data analytics, funding for interpretation and translation services and measures to address testing supply shortages. Watch the hearing.