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April 26, 2020

COVID-19 Health Disparities: New Patient Education Resource to Empower Community Leaders

Data shows disproportionate rates of COVID-19 infection and death within communities of color, with the disparity in death rates up to 40 percent in some communities. There are various reasons cited for this disparity, including more underlying health risk in these communities that increase vulnerability, lack of appropriate protections, denseness of community populations, more exposure due to the economics of the communities, and the basic lack of access to healthcare. Infections within these communities occur at twice the national rate according to released data.

 ACEP’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Health Equity Section developed an initiative to reach out to these high-risk communities with letters to community leaders and ministers. The letters, signed by President William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, and Section Chair Andrea Green, MD, FACEP, provide COVID-19 safety and prevention tips.

ACEP members can help spread the word by distribute these letters, which contain 10 COVID-19 safety and prevention tips, to those of influence in local high-risk communities as an effort to spread more patient education.

During ACEP’s latest call with the CDC, we raised concerns about how this virus is disproportionately affecting communities of color and told them about our community-based patient education campaign. We inquired about data collection that could be parsed by race and ethnicity, and the CDC said that COVID-NET Interactive includes a “characteristics of COVID-19 associated hospitalizations” bar chart where users can see race/ethnicity by age and overall.

The CDC also shared this recently-published resource: COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups as a resource they would continue to update as things evolve.

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