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Kentucky health experts to address health inequities in the era of COVID-19

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — African-Americans and other persons of color in Kentucky and across the country have experienced significant and disproportionate incidence and deaths related to the novel coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 hospitalization rates among non-Hispanic African-Americans and Hispanic or Latino people are both about 4.7 times the rate of non-Hispanic white people.
The Kentucky Medical Association (KMA), the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the University of Kentucky College of Public Health are partnering to host a webinar exploring what’s behind these inequities and possible policy solutions. Shifting the Lens: COVID-19 Policy Lessons for Reducing Kentucky’s Health Inequities will be held Thursday, Nov. 19 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Presenters will share lessons that policymakers, opinion leaders and health advocates can learn from Kentucky’s response to the pandemic, and will speak to practices and policies that can be put in place both short- and long-term to improve health outcomes for persons of color in the commonwealth.
“We need to fully understand the reasons underlying the more devastating impact that COVID has wreaked on our African American community, and implement the policies and practices that will help allow them to reach their best health,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
“Physicians and other healthcare providers should be aware of the social determinants of health that put racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19,” said KMA President Dale Toney, M.D.
The program will begin with the personal experiences of two African American Kentuckians who contracted COVID-19. Presentations also will include:
  • “The Impact of COVID-19 on Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups” with Connie White, M.D., MS, OB/GYN and Deputy Commissioner, Clinical Affairs, Kentucky Department for Public Health, Frankfort, Ky.
  • “Ensuring that Telemedicine Bridges, Rather than Deepens, the Gulf” with William C. Thornbury, Jr., M.D., General Family Medicine Practitioner, Glasgow, Ky.
  • “Reducing Chronic Disease in African American Communities” with Karen Krigger, M.D., Director of Health Equity at the UofL School of Medicine and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky Endowed Chair in Urban Health Policy, Louisville, Ky.
Wayne Tuckson, M.D., Colorectal Surgeon and host of Kentucky Health on Kentucky Educational Television (KET), will moderate the program.