Dr. Sandro Galea, dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, will chair a statewide emergency task force on the coronavirus outbreak and equity. The goal is to help ensure that vulnerable populations, such as low-income people and immigrants, aren’t disproportionately affected by the disease — or by steps taken to combat it.
“It is our responsibility to keep in mind who is bearing the brunt of the consequences,” says Dr. Galea, who will chair the panel with Cheryl Bartlett, CEO of the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center and a former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) convened the Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity to rapidly develop policy recommendations for communities especially vulnerable to COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, and its economic repercussions. This includes low-income individuals, people of color, immigrants, low-wage workers, those experiencing food insecurity or homelessness, people with disabilities, and older adults.
“From the family in shelter to the child who depends on getting a healthy breakfast and lunch at school to immigrants fearful of coming forward because of draconian federal policies — we are only as prepared as our most marginalized communities,” says Ms. Carlene Pavlos, MPHA executive director.
The task force will include representatives from a variety of health and human services groups, food-access organizations (such as food banks), groups serving homeless and elderly populations, as well as labor and disability groups. Recommendations will be announced on Friday, March 20, at the State House.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on March 20