On May 25, Tiffany Gary-Webb, associate professor of Epidemiology, participated in a White House listening session on health equity issues across the Commonwealth. Experts from a range of disciplines – medicine, nursing, public health and social work – participated in the session. Attendees were asked to share their views on health equity and its impact on clinical care.
“While our clinical advancements have been amazing and pivotal, prevention, especially in the context of health equity, has been suboptimal,” said Gary-Webb. “The inequities that COVID-19 exposed – inferior access to testing facilities for poorer communities, overcrowding, and the lack of ability to work remotely for frontline workers – have contributed to more disease. Focusing on prevention and addressing the social determinants of health will help to prevent multiple diseases and conditions over time.”
Gary-Webb pointed to three key and immediate areas of need:
-building the nation’s infrastructure of data/surveillance systems;
-requiring health equity audits for state and local health departments and other organizations who are in a position to control and distribute resources; and
-focusing on prevention
Listening session attendees, including Gary-Webb, will be invited to engage further at a Health and Human Services meeting to be scheduled later this year.