May 28, 2020 – The COVID-19 outbreak is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color, raising urgent questions about why that’s happening — and about what can be done to reduce risk and harm for people of color. A new $1 million grant from Google.org will help the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine answer those questions by collecting and analyzing detailed data that can get to the root causes of why communities of color have been so disproportionately harmed by COVID-19.
The new partnership between Google.org and the Satcher Health Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine will also include a team of Google engineers and data scientists who will work full-time over the next six months to support the project.
The ongoing research will build a database with a detailed breakdown of the virus’s impact by race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and other critical factors. The data, in turn, will help policymakers better understand how to ensure those communities receive the targeted help that they need to close those racial gaps and ensure the communities receive the resources and support that they need to battle the virus.
This project will map data on the trajectory of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the United States, including its territories, and better understand and address entrenched health inequities in disproportionately impacted communities
“Never before in the midst of a pandemic have we been able to realize an equitable policy. In creating a comprehensive, interactive, public-facing COVID-19 Health Equity Map of the United States, this partnership goes beyond showing disparate impact of the virus,” said Daniel E. Dawes, J.D., the director of Satcher Health Leadership Institute and the principal investigator of this grant award. “By looking at the social and political determinants of COVID-19 outcomes, we can inform resource allocation and management, jurisdictions’ response and mitigation strategies, testing, contact tracing, and overall implications for health equity for vulnerable populations.”
“Communities of color, specifically Black, Latinx, Native and Asian & Pacific Islander communities, have borne the brunt of the death toll for COVID-19, even as many people of color disproportionately serve our nation as essential workers,” said Jacqueline Fuller, the president of Google.org. “We are grateful to respond to this tragedy by investing a $1 million grant and a team of Google.org Fellows who will work full-time over the next six months to support the critical work the Morehouse School of Medicine is doing to map health equity across the country and to provide data-driven resources to jurisdictions seeking to incorporate health equity into their policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Disaggregated data changed the fight for black maternal health by showing that black women are far more likely to die no matter income, education level or insurance status. Data shows the root causes of staggering disparities and allows us to advocate for what we really need to save lives” said Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, Senior Advisor on the project for the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and the We Must Count Coalition.
“While there is a disproportionate impact from the pandemic on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders nationwide, Pacific Islanders in some states are dying from COVID-19 at a rate 2.6 times higher than any racial or ethnic group. The COVID-19 Health Equity Map will be an essential contribution so that we, as a nation, can address where the pandemic is hitting the hardest and to find the solutions to keep our people safe and well,” said Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF). “The social and political determinants of health play an outsized role including in the lack of health insurance coverage for testing and care, based on immigration or residency status. To keep our nation safe and our people healthy, we must understand, examine and report on such disparities in real-time.”
“We see clearly that COVID-19 is taking a massive toll on communities of color. With this new effort, we will have a better understanding of COVID-19’s impacts, and what exactly is causing these disparities. Armed with this information, policymakers can make better decisions for the future.” said Mayor McKinley Price, DDS, of Newport News, VA and president of the African American Mayors Association.
“We need consistent, accurate and appropriate data to help our communities move towards health equity,” said Dr. Millicent Gorham, Executive Director, National Black Nurses Association (NBNA). “Nurses, as frontline workers, clearly see how the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted patients with multiple chronic diseases. We need to get all the right resources to effect meaningful change. NBNA stands ready to work with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute to develop policies and implement strategies that will change the trajectory of this pandemic.”
“I look forward to joining this effort and sharing my experience advocating for the reduction of Latino health disparities exacerbated by COVID-19.” said Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, FACP, President & CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association.
“I am honored to join the esteemed group of leaders with the Morehouse School of Medicine to track health inequities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, COVID-19 emergency presents significant risks for the over 5 million individuals who self-identify as American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN). Unfortunately, in addition to being at high-risk for COVID-19, data about AI/ANs is underreported as we are often not counted or listed as “other”. In order to ensure Native Americans are not subject to further erasure, I am proud to join this group in ensuring we track everyone including AI/ANs.” Francys Crevier, Executive Director for the National Council of Urban Indian Health.
“COVID19 pandemic has had a devasting impact in our underserved communities, including Latinx and African American communities. I am excited to serve on the National Advisory Council to help guide the development of the The COVID-19 Health Equity Map and ensure that we can track the long term implications of COVID19 in our most vulnerable communities, as well as help us inform Public Health Policy” said Luis Belen, CEO, The National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved, Inc. (NHIT®), and Founder, HIMSS Latino.
“I am happy to hear that Morehouse will be developing such a critical tool in moving our country toward health equity for all. COVID19 has further amplified the disparities in our healthcare system and we have seen the disparate impact this pandemic has had on our communities. Having a detailed breakdown of the coronavirus’ impact by race, ethnicity, gender and socio-Economic status will go a long way in our ability to hold policymakers accountable and bring real legislative solutions and federal funds to underserved communities. National Action Network commends Google.org for supporting Morehouse School of Medicine with this important initiative” said Ebonie Riley, Washington, DC Bureau Chief for National Action Network.
About Satcher Health Leadership Institute
The Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) aims to be the leading transformational force for health equity in policy, leadership development, and research. Rooted in the legacy of our founder, the 16th U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher, SHLI’s mission is to create systemic change at the intersection of policy and equity by focusing on three priority areas: the political determinants of health, health system transformation, and mental and behavioral health. In conjunction with key strategic partners, SHLI enhances leadership among diverse learners, conducts forward-thinking research on the drivers of health inequities, and advances evidence-based policies; all in an effort to contribute to the achievement of health equity for all population groups. Learn more at https://satcherinstitute.org ; https://healthequitynetwork.org
About Morehouse School of Medicine
Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), located in Atlanta, GA exist to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities, increase the diversity of the health professional and scientific workforce, and address primary health care through programs in education, research, and service, with emphasis on people of color and the underserved urban and rural populations in Georgia, the nation, and the world. MSM is among the nation’s leading educators of primary care physicians and has twice been recognized as the top institution among U.S. medical schools for its dedication to the social mission of education. The faculty and alumni are noted in their fields for excellence in teaching, research, and public policy, and are known in the community for exceptional, culturally appropriate patient care. Morehouse School of Medicine is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctorate and master’s degrees.
Google.org, Google’s philanthropy, supports nonprofits that address humanitarian issues and apply scalable, data-driven innovation to solving the world’s biggest challenges. We accelerate their progress by connecting them with a unique blend of support that includes funding, products, and technical expertise from Google volunteers. We engage with these believers-turned-doers who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a world that works for everyone—and we believe technology and innovation can move the needle.