The University of Iowa

In the news: Amid disruptions wrought by COVID-19, it's essential health systems evaluate disparities in care

March 11th, 2021

Martha Carvour, Guest Columnist, Iowa City Press-Citizen

COVID-19 has impacted — and disrupted — almost every element of daily life. It has induced massive structural change throughout society. Communities have rapidly adapted to new ways to meet, work, socialize and shop. Health systems have responded to exceptional strains, modified the way health care workforces operate in times of crisis, and expanded opportunities for virtualized access to health care. People around the world have adopted a new, working parlance of virology and vaccinology. The impacts of COVID-19 on health and community have been inarguable, yet society has been resourceful when it needed to be and where it needed to be to keep both health and community as intact as possible.

In society’s necessary haste to adapt to this crisis, we have occasionally paused to acknowledge another critical element of the pandemic — the disparate effects of COVID-19 resulting from long-standing structural inequities in health care and public health. Historically, minoritized racial and ethnic groups, including Black/African American, Native American/Indigenous, Latino/a/x, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Island Native and Asian communities, have experienced many disproportionate impacts of the pandemic.