Health News Roundup

A hospital system’s campaign to confront racism, and more in this week’s roundup

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‘So much more to do’: A hospital system’s campaign to confront racism – and resistance to change – makes early strides
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, Aug. 25
With more than a dozen new programs to address racism in health care and more on the way, clinicians at Mass General Brigham are taking a hard look at disparities among their patients. While it’s too early to see how impactful all of the programs have been, some progress has been apparent. Although the initiative is being looked at as a model for health systems, some remain resistant to change. Others within the hospital are skeptical about how far the program will go to address the deeply entrenched systemic issues.

Black COVID long-haulers felt invisible to the health care system, so they formed their own support groups
Claretta Bellamy and Char Adams, NBC News, Aug. 28
It has been difficult for Black people with long COVID to get adequate treatment. Many have experienced interpersonal racism while at the hospital. Structural barriers like a lack of health insurance also pose a challenge to accessing treatment. Hundreds have found solace in support groups that tackle everything from managing lingering symptoms to help with filing paperwork for disability benefits.

Doctors urge COVID vaccination for young children as school year starts
Jenna Carlesso, The Connecticut Mirror, Aug. 26
Physicians are urging parents who have adopted a wait-and-see approach to vaccinating their young children against COVID-19 to get the shot before school resumes, when kids will again be in close quarters and infection rates are expected to rise. Vaccinations in young children ages 6 months to 4 years old continue to lag. As of August 16th, only 7.9% of children had received at least one dose.

Black, Hispanic people disproportionately contract monkeypox but fewer are getting the vaccine, early data shows
Nada Hassanein, USA Today, Aug. 30
Early data reveals that only 10% of Black people and 22% of Hispanic people have received the monkeypox vaccine, despite making up nearly two-thirds of cases. Drawing parallels to COVID-19 vaccination rates, experts are calling for more targeted, grassroots, and culturally sensitive vaccination efforts to help close this gap.

U.S. life expectancy down for second-straight year, fueled by COVID-1
Akilah Johnson and Sabrina Malhi, The Washington Post, Aug. 31
Life expectancy fell in 2021 for the second year in a row, reflecting the merciless toll exacted by COVID-19 on the nation’s health. The biggest decline was among Native Americans, whose life expectancy has dropped 6.4 years since 2019.