AMA Immediate Past President Testifies on COVID-19 Health Inequities

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Photo: American Medical Association

AMA Immediate Past President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A., was to tell the House Budget Committee today that marginalized and minoritized communities were facing a disproportionate impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

During the hearing on Health and Wealth Inequality in America: How COVID-19 Makes Clear the Need for Change, Harris' prepared testimony identified three factors behind the greater risk facing Black communities:

  • Structural inequities that are a consequence of long-time racist policies, practices, and procedures that determine access to comprehensive health care and social determinants of health that are influenced by bias and racial discrimination
  • Pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity that disproportionately impact the African-American community
  • An increased likelihood of working essential jobs, such as bus drivers, train operators, custodians, and in supermarkets, meatpacking plants, hospitals, and nursing homes

To reduce health inequities, Harris was to say the AMA will work to address implicit/unconscious bias and structural racism, collect more accurate data, address social determinants of health, and invest in professional diversity.

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