CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) today announced a new online resource hub aimed at shining a light on structural issues contributing to and exacerbating health inequities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These carefully curated resources, assembled by the AMA Center for Health Equity, build upon ongoing AMA efforts to ensure physicians have the support and tools necessary to navigate the changing landscape posed by the COVID-19 pandemic while providing critical care for patients.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the strength, resiliency and capacity of the physician and frontline health care workforce in the face of an unprecedented public health crisis, but it has also laid bare an alarming picture in which marginalized and minoritized patients suffer disproportionately,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “Today, deep-seated inequities – like higher rates of chronic diseases, lower access to health care, and lack of paid sick leave – that affect communities of color at higher rates are heightened during this crisis. These timely and topical resources were designed to ensure that physicians are equipped with the information they need to confront inequities and advance equity across all aspects of the health care system.”
The new tools for physicians include:
A curated list of health equity resources
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the AMA has cultivated various health equity resources focused on addressing existing inequities within the U.S. health care system. Links to items like COVID-19 resources for non-English speakers, health equity policies, information on the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and mothers, and video updates on the pandemic all provide high-level guidance and practical tips to assist physicians in confronting the key equity issues presented by the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health equity considerations and frequently-asked-questions
As marginalized and minoritized patients have and will suffer disproportionately during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the AMA is answering FAQs on health equity issues related to the pandemic response in order to equip physicians with the consciousness, tools and resources to confront these inequities. This page provides guidance, recommendations and strategies that address key questions like what kind of role public health leadership should play in national response efforts and how to recognize physician bias.
Demographic data and its implications
Emerging state-collected data on the racial and ethnic patterns of the COVID-19 pandemic show that the virus has disproportionately impacted some minority communities – while others are systemically missing or not accurately captured in the reports. This section includes an ongoing aggregation of COVID-19 race and ethnicity data to help track the evolving situation and shape the national narrative and response.
The AMA’s Center for Health Equity works to improve the lives of all Americans by prioritizing and advocating for optimal health for all. The initiative is led by the AMA’s first-ever Chief Health Equity Officer Aletha Maybank, M.D., M.P.H, who recently spoke with Oprah Winfrey about the impact of COVID-19 on black communities, prompted by her New York Times op-ed urging the federal government and states to collect and release race and ethnicity data on COVID-19. In April, Dr. Harris led a national AMA physician town hall aimed at confronting important issues faced by physicians amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and was a panelist on a BET/NAACP town hall focused on addressing the real trauma impacting communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The AMA will also continue to release other information and tools in response to the urgent public health crisis to support physicians and the patients they care for, which can be found on the AMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center.
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About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.