Health News Roundup

Why some Black parents are hesitant to send their kids back to in-person learning, and more in this week’s roundup

Some Black parents say remote learning gives racism reprieve
Christine Fernando, ABC News, May 4
As schools reopen across the country, Black students have been less likely than white students to enroll in in-person learning. This has been attributed to factors including concerns about the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on communities of color, a lack of trust that their schools are equipped to keep children safe, and the large numbers of students of color in urban districts that have been slower to reopen classrooms. But many Black parents are finding another benefit to remote learning: being better able to shield their children from racism in classrooms.

After 40 years, medical schools are admitting fewer Black male or Native American students
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, April 28
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the deeply embedded medical inequities facing the nation, and the need for a more diverse medical workforce. While U.S. medical schools have talked for years about their efforts to enroll more students of color, new data underscores how little progress has been made. The National Academy of Medicine is among many groups concluding that increasing racial and ethnic diversity among physicians would markedly improve care, access, and life expectancy for minority populations.

A primary care physician for every American, science panel urges
Noam N. Levey, Kaiser Health News, May 4
A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine calls for the federal government to aggressively bolster primary care and connect more Americans with a dedicated source of care. The report stresses that the U.S. needs to recognize that primary care is a “common good” similar to public education. Strengthening primary care has long been seen as a critical public health need and research dating back more than half a century shows that robust primary care systems save money, improve people’s health and even save lives.

COVID-19 front lines need community health workers, yet they’re not getting needed support
Denise Octavia Smith, USA Today, May 4
Smith, a community health worker and the executive director of the National Association of Community Health Workers has spent the past year gathering insights about the mental and emotional challenges for the people on the front lines of the pandemic response in neighborhoods across America. Over the past year, community health workers have pushed past their own risk factors and barriers to ensure that the families they serve can get tested for and gain equitable access to vaccinations and medical treatments. In addition to the pandemic pressures, community health workers are also comforting people suffering from depression and anxiety due to increased racial violence while many of them are also suffering from some of the same pressures.

Spending, equity, health outcomes at heart of TCI debate
Brendan Crowley, The Connecticut Examiner, April 29
How federal, state and local governments chose to route highways, build garbage incinerators, and locate energy plants decades ago has disproportionately affected the health of Black and Latino populations for years, even after accounting for income disparities, according to a recent paper. In Connecticut, the concentration of air pollution in the form of particulate matter is on average 27 percent higher for Latino residents and 30 percent higher for Black residents than for white residents. The inequity is at the heart of a multistate pact, spending plan, and tax on gasoline and diesel fuel – together called the Transportation and Climate Initiative, or TCI