April 14, 2020

COVID-19 Amplifies Health Inequities For Black Residents

Marion County Public Health Director Virginia Caine - City of Indianapolis Telecom and Video Services Agency

Marion County Public Health Director Virginia Caine

City of Indianapolis Telecom and Video Services Agency

The COVID-19 pandemic impacts the health of black residents in Indiana disproportionately. 

Health leaders came together virtually Tuesday to talk about social determinants that contribute to poorer health outcomes for many black residents.

Indiana Family and Social Services Secretary Jennifer Sullivan says the crisis amplified the problems.

"We also knew the gaps in Indiana’s health outcomes that predated this pandemic would be even more exposed now, than they were before," says Sullivan. 

Marion County Public Health Director Virginia Caine says 42 percent of deaths from COVID-19 in her county are African American, twice the death rate of white people. She says deep rooted inequity in the health care system is a factor.

"A lot of them may have unintended bias, or implicit bias, that they are not even aware of," says Caine. 

Sullivan, who is also an ER doctor, says this crisis has pushed more providers to identify if basic needs are being filled. 

"This should be part of all emergency care, and the opportunity to do this better, now and in the future, is not lost on any of us," says Sullivan. 

This was one of a series of weekly discussions the Indianapolis Recorder and New America Indianapolis hosts to consider the impacts of COVID-19 on black communities.  


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