Giving Compass' Take:

• Research indicates that COVID-19 disproportionately impacts black, Latino, indigenous, and immigrant communities due to the legacy of structural racism that affects societal factors of health. 

• A social justice response to COVID-19 is necessary to address the lack of access to health resources and equity issues that have emerged during this pandemic. How can donors support organizations that are tackling structural racism in health systems? 

• Read more on recognizing structural racism to effectively treat COVID-19.  

Recent data shows that Black, Latino, indigenous, and immigrant communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, in large part because of the persistent legacy of structural racism—practices and policies that systematically benefit White people and harm people of color.

As an interdisciplinary team of public health experts, physicians, medical students, and critical race scholars, we believe that an important piece of the solution lies in physician training and knowledge of how societal factors affect health. Clinicians in training need to be grounded in the social determinants of health and critical race theory to prepare them for an ethical and effective pandemic response. We’ll explain why social justice is so crucial to medical education and the care of marginalized communities.

Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work, and play. Traditionally, physicians study purely biological factors that only make up a small proportion of an individual’s risk of disease. Public health professionals study the social determinants of health—factors beyond our bodies that affect health. These include insurance status, access to health care, reliable access to food, safe housing, transportation, education, safety, and equal protection under the law.

Social justice is central to public health. This is because research has shown that health disparities are created by social inequities. Public health experts understand that oppressive systems dictate which people have access to key resources that determine health. Racism and classism create conditions where people of color, those living in poverty, and other marginalized groups have limited access to resources that affect health—the social determinants.

Read the full article about social justice lens for COVID-19 by Ayu Sutriasa at YES! Magazine.