Reading of the sixth meeting of the Covid-19 health equity working group
On Friday, July 30, COVID-19 Health Equity Chair, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, held the sixth meeting of the COVID-19 Health Equity Working Group to review interim recommendations regarding preparing for a future pandemic.
Dr Nunez-Smith opened the meeting by acknowledging the current turning point in the narrative of this pandemic. “Notable success has been achieved in the development and distribution of several effective vaccines. Hundreds of millions of doses administered safely. More than 80% of our seniors are now protected from the worst. But important and necessary work remains. Each of us can make personal choices and collective decisions that can help us all safely on the other side of this earlier pandemic. What this pandemic has clearly shown is that social policy is health policy. We need a “health in all policies” strategy as we think about investments now that will benefit generations. This is our job. The re-imagining of a different and better post-pandemic reality. “
Members of the Working Group heard from four subject matter experts. Lori Tremmel Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and Dr Michael Fraser, CEO of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), spoke on behalf of the health agencies United States public and local health departments. Dr. Gerald E. Harmon, President of the American Medical Association (AMA), and Dr. David J. Skorton, President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), spoke about health promotion and equity through the work of national health associations.
Members of the working group discussed and voted favorably on the interim recommendations. These included, but are not limited to:
- Explore strategies that meet local and regional personnel needs during the pandemic response.
- Develop adequate and evidence-based healthcare access and funding infrastructure to treat patients in collective settings.
- Establish and adjust national standards as well as strategically target water, wastewater and air quality financing where needed, based on data from reliable equity indicators.
- Establish cohesive communication to educate the public about personal protective equipment (PPE), therapies and testing using scientific and non-political sources to ensure the message is clear, credible, consistent and relevant to the cultural context of marginalized populations .
- Ensure adequate funding for the planning process, steady state collaboration and equity-focused preparedness exercises at all levels of government.
- Invest in national preparedness and response to special pathogens; in particular, in data sharing solutions and data capabilities as the new care delivery network is established.
- Create standardized expectations around the data infrastructure and the collection of disaggregated data, including incentives to collect, report and use disaggregated data.
Dr Nunez-Smith closed the meeting with remarks on future pandemic preparedness. “We must strive to achieve a new post-pandemic reality – and not back to our ‘normal’ policies and practices –– in housing, nutrition, education, healthcare, employment and beyond–– these have failed too much and left communities marginalized, marginalized , the most vulnerable to COVID-19 tragedies. “
To watch the full recording of the sixth meeting of the COVID-19 Health Working Group, please use the following links:
The next meeting of the COVID-19 health equity working group is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, September 30. Stay up to date by subscribing to email updates.