CDC Foundation, Morehouse health institute partner on Covid-19 inequities

The Atlanta-based CDC Foundation and Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine are partnering to address the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on minority groups.

More than 118,000 deaths in the United States have been attributed to Covid-19, and there are 2.19 million confirmed cases, as of Friday morning, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center. In Georgia, there are 2,605 deaths attributed to Covid-19 and 60,912 cases as of Friday morning, according to the Georgia Department of Health Daily Status Report. 

Preliminary data has demonstrated that racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately impacted by the disease, according to a CDC Foundation statement about the Satcher Institute partnership. So far, it has been challenging in the midst of the emergency to consistently collect demographic data on Covid-19 cases, including for race and ethnicity, which has hindered efforts to address the disproportionate impact. 

More than 18,000 of the confirmed cases were African-American/Black patients, more than 20,000 were White patients, about 900 were Asian patients, more than 4,000 cases were identified as “Other” and in more than 15,000 cases race and ethnicity were unknown, according to the Georgia DPH.

The SHLI and the CDC Foundation plan to establish a Health Equity Task Force to monitor and assess the disparate impacts of Covid-19 on vulnerable populations, including but not limited to racial/ethnic minorities, people living with disabilities, and those of lower socioeconomic status, according to the statement. The CDC Foundation’s Covid-19 emergency response fund will support the program. 

The partnership will create a Covid-19 data consortium to ensure the standardization of Covid-19 data at the national, state and local level. The data consortium will:

• Establish a multisector data consortium focused on Covid-19 impact on vulnerable populations and provide summary data to understand select geographic, racial and socio-economic disparities, and social determinants of health at the individual, county, state, and national levels. The task force will work with Google on this initiative.

• Develop standardized, evidence-based best practices for developing socio-culturally responsive resources and provide technical assistance to local and state health organizations to improve their Covid-19 responses, data collection, reporting, planning, mitigation strategies, screening and contact tracing.

• Analyze jurisdictional policies related to Covid-19 testing, contact tracing, resource allocation/management and jurisdictions’ response and mitigation strategies and overall implications for health equity for populations.

• Understand the mental/behavioral impacts of Covid-19 on disparate populations.

“We are pleased to be working with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute on this critical program,” Dr. Judy Monroe, president and CEO, CDC Foundation, said in the news release. “For us to truly overcome Covid-19 and future pandemics, we must understand how this pandemic impacts all populations as well as build strategies inclusive to all. We must ensure that the data is accurate and comprehensive and is accessible to make the appropriate decisions.”

Daniel E. Dawes, director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine, said in the statement, “As we continue to research the enduring disparities in health status and health care among disproportionately impacted populations during this COVID-19 pandemic, we collectively recognize the importance of compiling accurate and precise information to best protect these vulnerable communities. We are excited to partner with the CDC Foundation to address the drivers of health inequities. Our combined efforts will lead us towards systemic policy change, which will move us closer to achieving health equity in America.”

The CDC Foundation is a nonprofit authorized by Congress to mobilize philanthropic partners and private-sector resources to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s critical health protection mission. The foundation helps the CDC by facilitating collaboration between it and philanthropies, corporations, organizations and individuals. 

The Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine, named for 16th U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, works toward health equity in policy, leadership development and research.

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