Health care inequalities

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After studying Module 5: Lecture Materials & Resources, discuss the following:

Based on viewing the Johnson & Johnson video, what are your thoughts about health care inequalities and the need for continuing reform? (Share at least 2 points of view.)

Submission Instructions:

  • Your initial post should be at least 500 words, formatted and cited in current APA style with support from at least 2 academic sources. 

 Read and watch the lecture resources & materials below early in the week to help you respond to the discussion questions and to complete your assignment(s).

(Note: The citations below are provided for your research convenience. You should always cross reference the current APA guide for correct styling of citations and references in your academic work.)


  • Mason, D. J., Gardner, D. B., Outlaw, F. H. & O’Grady, E. T. (2020).
    • Chapters 40, 41, 44, and 53


  • Why Racial Disparities in healthcare make COVID-19’s impact worse for minorities (1:58)
    Johnson & Johnson. (2020, August 25). Why racial disparities in healthcare make COVID-19’s impact worse for minorities [Video]. 


Online Materials & Resources

Michael L. Jones, PhD, MBA, RN

The Social Determinants of COVID-19

Abstract: According to the Centers for Disease In a recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
Control and Prevention ( CDC ), coronavirus disease of Report ( MMMR), cited by McLaughlin ( 2020), it was
2019, also known as COVID- 19, has become a major revealed that African Americans are especially impacted
health crisis of our time . Millions of individuals have by COVID – 19 . In a study conducted in New York City ,
been diagnosed with the disease , and hundreds of death rates among African Americans were 92 . 3 deaths
thousands have died of the disease . Although there is per 100 ,000 , compared to 74 . 3 deaths per 100 ,000 for
currently no vaccine to address this condition, there Hispanic/Latino Americans , 45 . 2 deaths per 100 ,000
are therapeutic options available to caregivers . Even for Whites , and 34 . 5 deaths for Asian – Americans .
so , the most efective defense against COVID- 19, Documentation of the disproportionate impact on African
according to the CDC , is prevention, and the primary Americans has been made nationwide and in similar
means of preventing COVID- 19 is through addressing studies (” CDC COVID data tracker,” 2020).
the social determinants of health ( SDOH ). Nurses are at Differences in health between racial groups , also
the forefront of addressing SDOH . The purpose ofthis known as health disparities . most often are closely related
article is to examine the effects of COVID- 19 and to link to financial and social conditions . The CDC explains ,
them to SDOH . “The conditions in which people live , work , and play

contribute to our health. These conditions, over time, lead
Key Words : Nursing , Community, Public, Prevention, to different levels of health risks , needs , and outcomes
Environment , Social Determinants of Health, SDOH , among some people in certain racial and ethnic minority
Coronavirus , COVID- 19 groups” (” Health equity considerations …,” 2020 ). In

many instances, this is further exacerbated in minority
groups compared to Whites. During emergencies in public
health, such as with COVID-19, groups such as African

According to the Centers for Disease Control Americans often lack the necessary resources to prepareand Prevention (CDC), coronavirus disease of and survive during a pandemic. Their ability to prepare2019, also known as COVID-19, is a highly for and respond to outbreaks such as COVID-19 is often
contagious virus that typically initially affects the compromised by factors include living conditions, work
upper respiratory tract. COVID-19 has become a major life, underlying health conditions, and access to care.
disease worldwide and has had a devastating impact on Social conditions and the environment are major drivers
populations globally. At the time of this article, there in the impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities. This
are approximately 6.3 million individuals in the United correlation of factors is known as the Social Determinants
States who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and of Health (SDOH). The purpose of this article is to
approximately 189,000 deaths related to the disease provide an overview of the SDOH and their relationship
(“CDC COVID data tracker,” 2020). COVID-19 has to the pandemic of COVID-19 in the United States.
been especially detrimental to racial and ethnic minority
groups, who bear a disproportionate burden of illness SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH (SDOH)
and disease related to the disease (“Health equity According to Healthy People 2020 (“Social
considerations…,” 2020). determinants of health, 2020), “social determinants

of health are conditions in the environments in which
people are born, live, learn, work, plan, worship, and age

The ABNF Journal Surnrner 2020

that impact a wide range of health, functioning, and As mentioned earlier, COVID-19 has had a
quality-of-life outcomes and risks.” Social, economic, disproportionate impact on African Americans. When
and physical conditions along with the settings of work, compared to other ethnic and racial groups, African
church, school, place of work, and one’s neighborhood Americans tend to have a higher percentage of individuals
are referred to as “place.” Each of these issues work living in poverty; as such, access to adequate health
together to have a direct impact on the health outcomes insurance is greatly limited. It follows that an individual’s
of individuals and communities. When communities are ability to seek testing and treatment related to COVID-19
equipped with the necessary resources, health outcomes is also greatly limited. According to the Centers for
are often positive. Affordable housing, safe public Disease Control and Prevention (“Health equity
spaces, healthy food availability, access to healthcare considerations…,” 2020), African Americans are twice as
services, and toxin-free environments are examples likely to not have health insurance.
of such resources. Healthy People 2020 identify In addition to not having adequate health insurance,
and outline two basic types of determinants: social there is also the issue of individuals who are considered
determinants and physical determinants. Examples of the “working poor.” These are individuals who make
social determinants include access to healthcare, public too much to qualify for government insurance programs
safety, social support, literacy, culture, and education. but do not make enough to afford health insurance
Physical determinants include the design of housing independently or through their employer. These same
and communities, access to communities for individuals individuals tend to work on jobs which do not offer paid
living with disabilities, schools, places of work, and the time off. This compels individuals to prioritize their basic
level of exposure to toxins within communities (Healthy necessities, such as food, utilities, and healthcare services.
People 2020). In many instances, the basic necessities of food and

There are five key attributes of the SDOH. They utilities take priority over healthcare services.
include the following: According to the Centers for Disease Control and
1. Economic Stability Prevention (“CDC COVID data tracker,” 2020), critical
2. Education workers are at a far greater risk of contracting COVID- 19
3. Social and Community Context
4. Health and Healthcare
5. Neighborhood and Built Environment

Table 1. Key attributes and factors of SDOH

These five key attributes are discussed in detail Attributes Factors
below as they relate to COVID- 19 in African American Economic Stability • Employment
communities. Please refer to Table 1 for details regarding • Food Insecurity
the key attributes and factors of SDOH. • Housing Instability

• Poverty
LINKAGES BETWEEN COVID-19 AND SDOH Education • Early Childhood

The following sections discuss each attribute of Education and
DevelopmentSDOH and its connection to COVID-19, with the

• Enrollment in Higher
objective of understanding the nature of the impact Education
of COVID-19 on minority communities. These • High School Graduation
communities have been characterized as having less • Language and Literacy
than optimal social determinants and are therefore less Social and • Civic Participation
conducive to positive health outcomes. Community Context • Discrimination

• Incarceration
Economic Stability • Social Cohesion

An individual’s or a community’s health outcomes Health and • Access to Health Care
are greatly impacted by finances and economics. The Healthcare • Access to Primary Care
economic attributes of a community have an impact on • Health Literacy
whether or not an individual has access to healthcare Neighborhood and • Access to Healthy

Built Environment Foodsservices. In most instances, ethnic minorities are on
• Crime and Violencethe lower end of the income spectrum and thus have
• Environmentalless than optimal health outcomes. The provision of

Conditionsemployment opportunities, housing, and the reduction • Quality of Housing
of poverty is essential to ensuring healthy communities Source: Healthy People 2020
(“Social determinants of health,” 2020).

The ABNF Journal ~ Summer 2020

compared to nonessential workers. African Americans individuals may be reluctant to utilize certain health
make up the majority of those individuals categorized as services.
critical or essential workers, placing them at a far greater
risk of being impacted by COVID-19. This is particularly Social and Community Context
relevant to the service industry, comprising retailers, Engagement in civic participation is important for
grocery stores, restaurants, other food and service positive health outcomes in communities, according to
organizations, and agricultural workers. Compared to Healthy People 2020 (“Social determinants of health,”
16% of Whites, approximately 25% of the Hispanic and 2020). Engagement in civic activities within communities
African American workforce is employed in the service assists in building trust and solid networks within
industry. As mentioned, minorities are dying at a greater communities. Access to networks lead to enhanced use
rate when compared to whites (“CDC COVID data of the various resources in communities, such as access
tracker,” 2020). to healthcare serves, government welfare programs, and

Individuals living in poverty may also have limited support groups. Further, civic participation includes
access to personal protective supplies such as face beneficial activities such as volunteering, voting, and
masks and hand sanitizer. The Centers for Disease participation in group activities.
Control and Prevention (“Health equity considerations,” As it relates to COVID-19, individuals who
2020) highlights the importance of the use of personal mistrust the health system, according to the Centers
protective supplies to prevent and slow the spread of for Disease Control and Prevention (“Health equity
COVID-19. The lack thereof may lead to an increase in considerations…,” 2020), tend to have poorer than
the incidence of the disease. usual health outcomes. This is especially true of African

Americans living in areas with a history of racial
Education segregation and discrimination. An example of such is

When an individual or a community is provided in the rural South. Because these residents mistrust the
with a good educational system, their ability to obtain health care system, the likelihood increases that their
meaningful employment is enhanced. When an individual health would be greatly compromised. As such, diseases
has meaningful employment, their access to health and such like COVID-19, coupled with the presence of
health care services is also enhanced. underlying conditions, would have a greater impact on

The issue of health literacy is also a major factor. those communities.
According to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act of 2010, Title V, (“What is health literacy?” 2020), Health and Healthcare
“health literacy is the degree to which an individual Health outcomes, according to Healthy People 2020
has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and (“Social determinants of health…” 2020), are more
understand basic health information and services to make positive when individuals have access to health and
appropriate health decisions.” Limited health literacy healthcare services. For example, in most poor and
leads to poor health outcomes as individuals lack the underserved communities, Federally Qualified Health
ability or knowledge to navigate the health systems or to Centers (FQHC) provide access to care services including
put practices in place that lead to good health outcomes. dental, medical, transportation, and social services
According to the Centers for Disease Control and that otherwise would not be available According to the
Prevention (“CDC COVID data tracker,” 2020), Health Resources and Services Administration (“Social
COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on determinants of health,” 2020), FQHCs, also known as
individuals with underlying medical conditions, such Community Health Centers (CHCs), often provide the
as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Inadequate only health care option for many vulnerable populations.
health literacy often leads to individuals not having the Vulnerable populations include individuals who face
capacity to manage their conditions, thus leading to an barriers to health care for reasons includinp geographical,
exacerbation of these conditions and ultimately death. cultural, linguistic, or socioeconomic issues (“Health
When individuals do not have sufficient skills to navigate center program…,” 2020). For approximately 50 years in
the health system or to understanding of a disease such as the United States, CHCs have provided comprehensive
COVID-19, these individuals may not seek COVID-19 healthcare services, including medical, dental, pharmacy,
testing, thus leading to an unmanaged disease and and transportation. CHCs accept patients with various
possibly disease-related mortality. Additionally, there types of insurance; those without health insurance are
is the stigma and mistrust of the healthcare system. provided services based upon a sliding fee scale, which

One’s level of education tends to limit the ability to fully is based upon income levels (“Health center program. ..,
understand how the health system operates. In such cases, 2020). In many communities of color, access to health

The ABNF Journal Summer 2020

services is often lacking. As such, health outcomes The CDC points to residential segregation as being
are compromised (“Health equity considerations…,” one of the most common causes of health disparities
2020). It is important to note that 93% of the CHCs (“Health equity considerations…,” 2020). This means
in the United States were consistent in meeting or that minorities are shut out from quality housing and
exceeding many of the Healthy People 2020 goals in resources needed to achieve parity with the majority
2018 (“Health center program…,” 2020). This further group. As a result, the impact of disease such as
validates their importance to poor and underserved COVID-19 is even greater. Residential segregation
communities. also has an impact on access to healthcare facilities

It has been well established that those persons where prevention and treatment services are offered,
with underlying medical conditions are dying thus making disease prevalence higher when compared
disproportionately due to COVID-19. When to other areas where residential segregation does not
healthcare services such as those offered through exist. Additionally, those individuals living in homes
CHCs are not found within a community, access to where several generations are present, have an increased
care is greatly compromised. Although there are well likelihood of contracting a disease such as COVID-19.
over a thousand CHCs throughout the United States, Ultimately, when space is limited due to the number of
there are many communities, especially in rural areas, individuals living within a household, social distancing
without access to services that would be found in is more challenging to achive. Minorities are more
these clinics for the poor and underserved. In this likely to live in multigenerational homes than their
instance, a disease such as COVID-19 can wreak white counterparts. Similarly, this is also true of the high
havoc on the citizens of those communities, which has density conditions of incarceration, in which minorities
occurred during this global pandemic (CDC COVID are more highly represented (Centers for Disease Control
data tracker, 2020). and Prevention, 2020).

Neighborhood and Built Environment SUMMARY
This attribute is similar to social and community According to Healthy People 2020, addressing the

context because the interface with the community is many health issues in our society requires us to do so
important to ensuring positive health outcomes. It through the lens of where individuals live, work, and
also overlaps with the attribute of economic stability play; this is known as the Social Determinants of Health
as it has to do with food and housing insecurities. or SDOH (“Social determinants of health…,” 2020). This
According to Healthy People 2020 (“Social article clearly identified the five key SDOH, and provided
determinants of health,” 2020), air pollution, water a link between the SDOH and the health outcomes of
contamination, and weather extremities (hot or a community, specifically related to COVID-19, which
cold), have a direct impact on the health outcomes of has become a global pandemic. Racial and ethnic
individuals and communities. As such, communities minorities most often succumb to health issues related to
must be built and must be conducive to obtaining the environments in which they live, and individuals in
good health outcomes. For example, there must be more densely populations tend to have more significant
opportunities for exercising (e.g., walking trails and negative health outcomes. COVID-19 disproportionately
biking trails), access to fresh fruits and vegetables, impacts minority communities, specifically African
and accessibility to health clinics such as CHCs in American.. As our nation continues to battle this deadly
ethnic minority communities. disease, doing so through the lens of the SDOH is key.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and According to the American Nurses Association,
Prevention (“Health equity considerations…,” 2020), nurses play a key role in every aspect of healthcare.
the living conditions of individuals and communities Not only do nurses provide highly skilled quality care
are directly related to the number of COVID-19 at the bedside, they are also crucial to the safeguarding
cases within that particular community. Individuals of public health (“What is nursing?” 2020). COVID-19
living in densely populated areas are at a greater is certainly a major public health concern. Utilizing the
risk of contracting COVID-19 than those living nursing process, nurses are key to making a significant
in more sparsely populated areas. Minorities are impact on the COVID-19 pandemic. This may range
more likely to live in densely populated areas when from conducting COVID testing, educating communities
compared to their White counterparts. This creates a and patients, conducting research, and educating future
barrier to social distancing, which has been deemed nurses, in efforts to support the nursing workforce as it
one of the most successful preventive activities addresses the many healthcare issues facing our nation,
to slow the spread of COVID-19 (“Health equity including COVID-19.
considerations…,” 2020).

The ABNF Journal ~ Summer 2020

What is nursing ? ( 2020 ). American Nurses Association . https :// www .
CDC COVID data tracker . ( 2020 , September 8 ). Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention.

Health equity considerations and racial and ethnic minority groups
(2020, July 24). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What is health literacy ‘? (2019, October 23 ). Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.

Health center program : Impact and growth. ( 2020 ). Health Resources
and Services Administration.

Social determinants of health. ( 2020 ). Healthy People 2020 . http ://

McLaughlin , K . ( 2020 , June 25 ). COVID- 19 exposes health inequities .
Cancer Today.

Michael L . Jones , PhD , MBA , RN, is Assistant
Professor of Nursing and Coordinator of the Entry
Level Master of Science in Nursing (ELMSN) program
at Brenau University. Michael has served in various
capacities throughout his 20-year career in health care
and nursing, including faculty positions in Nursing and
Public Health. Dr. Jones received his formal education
at Hampton University and the University of Mississippi
Medical Center.

The ABNF Journal I Summer 2020

Copyright of ABNF Journal is the property of Tucker Publications, Inc. and its content may
not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s
express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for
individual use.

Post #1

Roomending Joseph

St Thomas University


Professor Rousseau Rosa

July 28th, 2022


Health Care Inequalities

         Emerging data has revealed that the American Indians, Hispanic, African American, and Alaska Natives have experienced disproportionate illness and death rates due to COVID-19 (Azar et al., 2020). Further analysis also showed that such communities had more than thrice the number of immature deaths in the US in 2020 alone (Azar et al., 2020). These rates were more than three times those of Asians and whites. The higher infection and death rates among people of color may reflect the increased vulnerability or the risk of exposure from the working, living, and transport situations. Moreover, such communities also have higher rates of underlying conditions. They may experience barriers to testing and treatment due to the existing health care disparities, which increases their risk of developing more severe signs and symptoms.

          Studies have also shown that the direct effects of the virus are far-reaching as they may also take a toll on the mental health, well-being, and financial security of people of color (Lee et al., 2021). Other groups likely to be affected are the low-income individuals, the members of LQBTQ, among other underserved communities and groups. The financial insecurity comes from spending most of the household income on hospital bills which causes even more distress and may be of danger to an individual’s overall mental health. For instance, as of March 2021, a study was conducted among Hispanic and African American adults, specifically those directly affected by the virus or who had family members who had contracted the virus (Lee et al., 2021). The reports indicate that a significant proportion of them expressed their lack of confidence inability to meet the housing bills, rent, and some even reported to have experienced food insufficiency (Lee et al., 2021).

         The racial health care disparities have also manifested themselves in the vaccination process in the US. For instance, as of May 2021, Hispanic, Latinx, and African American communities were less likely than whites to have received the COVID-19 vaccine (Lee et al., 2021). Data across most states indicated a constant pattern of the Blacks, Latinx, and American Indian communities receiving an insignificant vaccine share compared to their overall populations, cases, and number of deaths. This implies that as of May 2021, the vaccination rates among people of color were lower compared to the whites (Lee et al., 2021). However, further research has revealed that people are more open-minded towards vaccination, and the rates have been increasing for almost all groups (Lee et al., 2021). Conversely, the vaccination rates gaps among Hispanic and Blacks are still persistent. The disparities are also a reflection of the long-standing racial inequalities that have been existing in the country for decades (Jackson & Gracia, 2014). Furthermore, the gaps leave the people of color at an increased risk of infection and re-infection, which hinders the government’s initiatives to attain population-level equality.

        Addressing the health and health care disparities is imperative to eliminate the concept of social injustice, but it may also influence the country’s health and economic prosperity. Studies suggest that people of color experience higher rates of illness and death from a wide array of health conditions, not just COVID-19 (Azar et al., 2020). This poses challenges and may be a limitation of the nation’s health. Past research has indicated how costly health disparities maybe for the country, but they still manifest themselves in multiple forms, raising the need for continuing reform (Jackson & Gracia, 2014). The studies estimate that roughly $93 billion is lost yearly in excess in terms of medical care. More than $40billion is lost in economic productivity also on an annual basis due to the disparities (Lee et al., 2021). Therefore, as the American population becomes more diverse, with people of color projected to account for more than half of the total population by 2050, there is an increasing need for the country to address the racial disparities (Azar et al., 2020).


Azar, K. M., Shen, Z., Romanelli, R. J., Lockhart, S. H., Smits, K., Robinson, S., … & Pressman, A. R. (2020). Disparities In Outcomes Among COVID-19 Patients In A Large Health Care System In California: Study estimates the COVID-19 infection fatality rate at the US county level. Health Affairs, 39(7), 1253-1262.

Jackson, C. S., & Gracia, J. N. (2014). Addressing health and health-care disparities: the role of a diverse workforce and the social determinants of health. Public Health Reports, 129(1_suppl2), 57-61.

Lee, J. T., Althomsons, S. P., Wu, H., Budnitz, D. S., Kalayil, E. J., Lindley, M. C., … & Patel, S. A. (2021). Disparities in COVID-19 vaccination coverage among health care personnel working in long-term care facilities, by job category, National Healthcare Safety Network—United States, March 2021. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 70(30), 1036.


Post #2

Ermanie Liberiste

St. Thomas University

NUR-415_AP1: Health Issues Care

Prof: Rousseau

July 28, 2022


Health Care Inequalities

Healthcare Inequality plays a significant role in healthcare and can impact the mortality rate in low-income communities and minorities. Health inequalities can be determined by economic stability, education, an individual’s community, and social community (Singu et al., 2020). All humans are entitled to the necessities of life, including health care, health insurance, and adequate health literacy (Singu et al., 2020). Health inequalities and disparities exist for some individuals, especially in low-income communities (Singu et al., 2020). Economic instability can restrict access to healthcare for low-income individuals due to a lack of the ability to afford health insurance (Singu et al., 2020). Individuals without health insurance are at risk for high mortality rates because these individuals lack access to preventive care, like to seek healthcare, and are more likely to be diagnosed with chronic conditions and end-stage diseases (Singu et al., 2020). Health literacy is another aspect of healthcare inequalities; a lack of adequate education can prevent patient access to health information (Singu et al., 2020). With new technology, most healthcare organizations integrate—the new era of the electronic health system, where patients can access their health information. Patients can schedule an appointment online, and the invention of telehealth impacts patients in low-income communities. 

Covid-19 shed some highlights on Social Determinants of Health into the health inequalities facing the nation and affecting some communities in the United States (Jones, 2020). During the Covid-19 pandemic, the African American communities were affected by the most social determinants of health (Jones, 2020). Most African Americans are classified as essential workers because they are most likely to work in grocery stores, restaurants, and agriculture (Jones, 2020). For that reason, they were the most population to get infected by Covid-19 during the pandemic (Jones, 2020). The African American population is also at greater risk of being underinsured and having a pre-existing condition which can increase the mortality rate in this group when they affect by Covid-19. 

Limited health literacy can lead to inadequate knowledge of health information to make healthcare decisions (Jones, 2020). Lack of healthcare resources limited the African American community’s access to testing, including long lines at the testing site that discouraged them from getting tested (Jones, 2020). With the closing of some healthcare facilities, telehealth was the norm during Covid-19. Access to telehealth was not accessible to this population because most health insurance companies subscribe to telehealth for their client; if an individual does not have health insurance may not have access to telehealth.


Health inequalities have been a crisis in the United States for decades and will continue to be an issue for some minority groups. With the Affordable Care Act, more minority groups have access to healthcare, decreasing the mortality rate for the African American community. As healthcare professionals, we must educate the population and reinforce teaching on preventive care to decrease the mortality rate for the population regardless of their ethnic group, social and economic class, education, and health status.


Jones, M. L. (2020). Social Determinants of Covid-19. ABNF Journal, 31(3), 97-101.

Mason, D. J., Dickson, E., McLemore, M. R., & Perez, A. G. (2021). Policy & Politics in Nursing and Health Care. St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America: Elsevier.

Singu, S., Acharya, A., Challagundla, K., & Byrareddy, S. N. (2020, July 21). Impact of Social Determinants of Health on the Emergine Covid-19 Pandemic in the United State. Frontiers in Public Health, 8(406), 10-10. Doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.00406


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