As COVID-19 has shown, good health is not universal. Some communities face challenges that leave them more vulnerable to health risks than other groups. Each year on April 7, the World Health Organization, along with other related organizations, observes World Health Day to raise awareness of global health inequities, such as COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on minority communities.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people of color experience significantly higher rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death, with Black and Hispanic people being hospitalized for COVID-19 at over double the rate of non-Hispanic white people. Various social, geographic, economic, and environmental factors – such as lack of health care access and increased exposure due to occupational settings – have contributed to increased health risks in these communities.
Some of the same factors that are related to health disparities also affect COVID-19 vaccine equity. Across the U.S. vaccination rates are lower in the Black population when compared to rates in the white population. Many communities mistrust the health care system due to mistreatment by the medical community. Because they haven’t always been included in the research used to create treatment and prevention strategies, it can be difficult to trust those in the health care system even in moments when help is offered.
But the All of Us Research Program is looking to change that. If you are also looking for ways to help our community fight COVID-19, one way you can do your part is by participating in research. The All of Us Research Program is gathering health information from one million or more people across the U.S. from all different backgrounds to help build one of the most diverse health databases in history. Researchers can then use this information for important health studies. COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on communities of color, those with disabilities, and others make the All of Us Research Program’s contributions especially important to efforts to learn more about the virus and related health disparities. While the health data contributed to the program may help with future treatment, All of Us implemented several initiatives to provide immediate insights into the impacts of the pandemic. The COVID-19 Participant Experience (COPE) Survey helps researchers understand how the pandemic has affected all aspects of people’s lives, like mental and physical health, housing, and job security. The Minute Survey can help researchers understand barriers to people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine by finding out who, when, and why people do or don’t get vaccinated. Sharing your story can help researchers learn more about COVID-19 and other diseases, which could lead to better treatment and disease prevention for all of us.
Make sure your community is included in health research and join All of Us at bit.ly/togetherAoU.