Global Health Position Statement - COVID-19
Dear FHS faculty, learners and staff,
As Global Health Faculty we feel it is imperative to address the impact of COVID 19 on health equity and disparities in our community and internationally. It is becoming increasingly clear that within countries and within cities and communities, we are witnessing vast disparities in outcomes. Across our country, vulnerable populations with chronic illnesses and disabilities, those incarcerated, those in poverty, and those living in long-term care homes, have borne the brunt of this disease. We also know that the health impacts of this pandemic go far beyond the direct morbidity and mortality related to SARS-CoV-2. Social distancing and the economic standstill will affect us differently as social determinants of health continue to dictate different outcomes in the same city, county or province/state.
As the pandemic unfolds in Canada and in different countries, it has become clear that there are grave health equity considerations that academic institutions such as the FHS at Queen’s University have an obligation to address. Our commitment to health equity requires us to work to reduce and eliminate disparities in health outcomes—to ensure social justice in health. Disparities are avoidable adverse health outcomes caused by structural factors and social determinants of health that affect people experiencing homelessness, mental health or substance use concerns, racialized people and Indigenous persons, those experiencing family violence, and people living with disabilities, among others.
We propose that the FHS, in addition to being at the frontline of the immediate medical and public health response, must engage with our communities locally and globally to address the pandemic using a robust health equity lens. We call upon all members of the Faculty to consider health equity in the way we educate, the types of research questions we choose to ask, and how we advocate for patients and populations during and after the pandemic.
If you are doing equity-related activities associated with the pandemic, please reach out to us at Global.Health@queensu.ca. For more information, please see the resources below, or look to our Global Health home page for updates on events and initiatives.
Drs. Nazik Hammad, Eva Purkey, Colleen Davison, Heather Aldersey, Faizal Haji, Susan Bartels, Rosemary Wilson and Eleftherios Soleas on behalf of the Pandemic working group of Global Health at the Office of Professional Development and Education Scholarship (OPDES), FHS.
- Armitage, R., Nellums. The COVID-19 response must be disability inclusive, Lancet Public Health, Published Online March 27, 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30076-1
- Dorn, A. et al. COVID-19 exacerbating inequalities in the US. The Lancet, Volume 395, Issue 10232, 1243 – 1244 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30893-X
- Hall, K et al. Centring sexual and reproductive health and justice in the global COVID-19 response. The Lancet, Volume 395, Issue 10231, 1175 – 1177 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30801-1
- Owen WF, Carmona R, Pomeroy C. Failing Another National Stress Test on Health Disparities. JAMA. Published online April 15, 2020. DOI: https://doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6547
- Paakkari, Leena et al. COVID-19: health literacy is an underestimated problem. The Lancet Public Health, Volume 0, Issue 0 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30086-4
- Wang, Z., Tang, K. Combating COVID-19: health equity matters. Nat Med, 26, 458. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0823-6
- Wurcel et al. Spotlight on Jails: COVID-19 Mitigation Policies Needed Now, Clinical Infectious Diseases. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa346
- Where we are now: disability in the pandemic https://disabilitydebrief.substack.com/p/where-we-are-now-disability-in-the
- Advisory Group to Help Canadians with Disabilities During COVID-19 http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2020/04/14/advisory-group-to-help-canadians-with-disabilities-during-covid-19