Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-09-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

COVID-19 Healthcare inequities come to foreground during pandemic
by Matt Simonette
2020-05-13

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


In mid-April, when Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called attention to the disproportionate number of COVID-19 deaths among the City's Black residents—about 70 percent of deaths related to the virus were among African-Americans—officials at the Howard Brown Health system were not shocked, said Maya Green, MD, medical director for the organization's 63rd Street, Thresholds South and other south region facilities.

"This is what happens in a pandemic," said Green. "Traditionally underserved communities get impacted the hardest. We weren't surprised and saw that coming. We were grateful that we had the [testing] tents in place."

A vital aspect of healthcare service delivery is both recognizing and meaningfully addressing socio-cultural inequities that affect the lives of clients to the point where their wellbeing can be negatively impacted. As such, Howard Brown has tried to be conscientious serving Chicagoans on the margins as the pandemic progresses.

The organization began delivering COVID-19 tests in March at multiple locations, and recently launched a new testing facility in partnership with Project Vida in Little Village. Since Lightfoot's initial comments about the racial disparities, City officials have also noted higher rates of COVID-19 transmission within the Chicago Latinx community as well.

"We are [also] grateful to the community and fellow organizations that see the needs and are moving at 'pandemic speeds' to meet them," Green added.

Howard Brown has been providing resources to allow its regular clients to continue sheltering in place, by offering visits by Telehealth and psychiatry mobile units, for example. The organization is also doing STI screenings via mobile units and working alongside food pantries in prioritized neighborhoods, Green said.

"Part of 'shelter-in-place' means you have to get food [safely]—that's primary prevention, where you do all the things you can do to make sure that someone doesn't get sick," she added.

Primary prevention strategies are based upon both how a condition transmits as well as the behaviors of a population. Green cited numerous determinants of health factoring in a patient's well-being that healthcare providers must be aware of in looking at COVID-19 at both the micro and macro levels.

Chief among those are chronic conditions such as HIV or diabetes affect persons of color disproportionately and can make a patient more vulnerable to illness from COVID-19. Other determinants include access to health resources, equity in education and equity in employment opportunities, which can have a similar impact.

One realm where circumstances directly led to mass infection was among America's incarcerated. Green noted, "Look at what's happening in our present system, where African Americans are disproportionately incarcerated, for lesser crimes, and they are in [jails and prisons] being exposed to COVID."

She was blunt in naming the "one disease' that makes persons of color especially vulnerable in the pandemic: historical oppression.

Bias was implicit in how the COVID response played out in early 2020, Green explained. For example, concerns for travelers—a demographic that is predominantly whiter and wealthier than other Americans—seemed paramount in driving initial prevention strategies. Early requirements that patients have a doctor's referral in order to receive a COVID test presupposed that the patient could make contact with a doctor in the first place.

"Access to your doctor is an issue in a pandemic," Green added. "Even people who have a plethora of hospitals and clinics in their neighborhood experience a decrease in access to care from their primary care physician. Imagine what folks do when they didn't have access to one to start with."

Howard Brown has been trying to eliminate as many structural barriers to testing as possible, according to Green. She estimated that, as of late April, the organization had tested about 950 persons for COVID-19.

Bias within the healthcare system is often internalized at both the individual and structural levels, since Americans deal with it their entire lives, Green noted. That bias is exacerbated further in a natural resistance from stakeholders to a systematic critique.

"The hardest part of dealing with bias, especially with implicit bias, is the struggle when you don't even acknowledge it," she explained. "It's hard to recognize that about ourselves as a collective society."

That denial is often followed by an impulse to assign blame onto persons in need. All the while, as communities, politicians and other stakeholders go through these processes, the pandemic only advances rapidly.

"Once they get it, some people are dealing with a two-week span of their life," Green said. "Instead of going through shock, blame and denial, we need to pivot that energy and turn to a narrative focused on determining the social determinants of health—getting them access to food, access to Telehealth, access to education. That's why I'm glad [Howard Brown] is in a space where we can do that."

Green added that, even with the strain of individualism that so infuses life in the United States, "We're seeing how much we need each other and looking for opportunities to connect. Now that we're seeing so many of the opportunities taken alway, a lot of us our saying, 'Hey, I really appreciate my fellow humans.'"


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Chicago Bar Association releases 'Judge Smart Guide' 2020-09-23 - The Chicago Bar Association has released its evaluations for judicial candidates who are seeking election or retention to the Illinois Supreme Court, the ...


Gay News

Lambda officials weigh LGBTQ legal challenges ahead 2020-09-23 - Officials from the national LGBTQ-rights advocacy Lambda Legal held an online discussion Sept. 23 to discuss the implications for both the judiciary and ...


Gay News

Jane Fonda part of Personal PAC virtual luncheon Oct. 21 2020-09-23 - Personal PAC—the leading non-partisan political action committee ( PAC ) dedicated to electing pro-choice state and local officials in Illinois—announced that its 27th ...


Gay News

Carey stepping down as Task Force executive director in 2021 2020-09-23 - On Sept. 23, the National LGBTQ Task Force announced that longtime Executive Director Rea Carey will be stepping down in early 2021. ...


Gay News

Creating Change Conference to hold Oct. 10 day-long event, "Queering Racial Justice" 2020-09-21 - Sept. 21, 2020….Washington, DC…. The National LGBTQ Task Force and Creating Change will hold a day-long event ( 12:30 ET to 6:30 ET ...


Gay News

HRC Pres. Alphonso David reacts to U.S. approaching 200,000 COVID deaths 2020-09-21 - WASHINGTON, DC - Today, as the United States approaches the grim milestone of surpassing 200,000 deaths caused by COVID-19, Human Rights Campaign Foundation ...


Gay News

Groups, officials condemn state rep's anti-gay remarks 2020-09-21 - Organizations and elected officials condemned comments Republican Illinois state Rep. Amy Grant made during a fundraising call about her Democratic challenger, Ken Mejia-Beal. ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Lambda Litfest, #BiWeek, whistleblower, Equality Awards, Blade 2020-09-21 - The 4th annual Lambda Litfest ( Oct. 5-9 ) has been transformed into a specially curated, virtual event celebrating Black LGBTQIA+ excellence and ...


Gay News

WORLD Barbados items, EU's criticism, Billie Jean King, Equality Act 2020-09-21 - Barbados is ready to grant legal status to same-sex couples, in a major breakthrough for gay rights lobbying in the Caribbean Community ( ...


Gay News

NCLR mourns LGBTQ equality champion Justice Ginsburg 2020-09-19 - SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) mourns the tragic loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.