Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center gastroenterologist, Darrell Gray, II, MD, MPH discusses how COVID-19 has brought new focus and awareness on the long-standing inequities in health among black and indigenous people of color, and how health care providers must all play a role in creating a healthier, more equitable society.
greetings, I'm Dr Darrell Bray, a gastroenterologist and associate professor at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. I'm honored to share some information about a work that we published earlier this summer in Nature reviews gastroenterology and hepatology entitled Cove in 19 and the other pandemic populations made vulnerable by systemic inequity. You all are no strangers to the fact that we are amidst a Cove in 19 Pandemic that has taken the lives of many Americans and many outside of America. One of the earliest reports that came out in regards to Kovar 19 was that as the data was coming in, we were seeing that communities of color African Americans, Latin, X, indigenous people of color were disproportionately burdened by the worst outcomes from Kovar 19, as compared to other in racial and ethnic groups, and certainly has been attributed to the fact that that these same populations have a higher burden of chronic diseases. Type two diabetes, heart disease, obesity, asthma and, yes, cancer. As a gastroenterologist, I think about cancer a lot. I think about colorectal cancer. I think about uh huh pedo cellular carcinoma. I think about esophageal cancer and the list goes on But what we must do as clinicians as scientists is to think about the factors that lead to these downstream health outcomes or symptoms, if you will. And I think about social determines of health such as food insecurity, unsafe and overcrowded housing, exposure to toxins, income inequality and the list goes on. But again, we must look even further as we talk about social determinants of health. And we think about those things that impact where we grow, work, live, play, pray and the larger social structures that informed those things. We have to also think about the impact of racism, poverty and discrimination, how it mitigates all of those factors and leads to these downstream health outcomes that are disproportionately impacting mawr. Some populations mawr than others Now, certainly, I think there are answers to these, and I want to describe just three strategies, and there certainly mawr that we can take not only nationally but locally to mitigate some of these social determine of health factors that are leading to the downstream health outcomes that we're seeing in our communities and in our clinics, certainly from our federal, state and even local level. We need to do better with supporting health disparities, research and increasing workforce diversity. We know that diversity save lives and fosters innovation in healthcare and science. But we must contribute to bolstering the pipeline of diverse candidates for health, Koreas and those who are engaged in science. We must support the research not only the research to investigate the disparities, but the research in understanding the interventions that will help mitigate them and eliminate them and move us closer towards health equity. Many cities and counties across the United States have declared racism of public health crisis. We must Seymour of this. But not only that resource is financial and human capital must be dedicated towards mitigating racism in its various forms, particularly as it impacts social terms of health and downstream health outcomes. And last but certainly not least, we must engage our communities. Those who are most proximal to the inequity must be given voice to propose and implement solutions, and they can do so. So as we think about writing our research grants as we think about the patients we see in our clinic and in our hospitals, we must arm them with the opportunity to give voice to solutions about what they're dealing with in their lived experience on a regular basis, and we can do that. And certainly our ultimate goal is health equity, in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as is possible. And I want to distinguish distinguish that from equality which you can see in this figure. And I believe strongly that we can achieve this by putting greater attention. And resource is to medically underserved populations who are made vulnerable by virtue of their social determinants of health and non medical health related social needs. We can do this, we can achieve this. But we can only do this together as physicians, as clinicians, as students, as learners, as staff, as faculty. As researchers, we can do this together. Let's create change together. Thank you.