The Summer 2021 issue of NACCHO Exchange showcases the ways in which local health departments and other public health agencies have responded to and continue to mitigate the impact the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Featured articles in this issue include:
- The Public Health Workforce: Pandemic Challenges and Opportunities
- Applying Lessons Learned to Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19 on Pregnant People and Infants: A Local Health Perspective
- Medical Reserve Corps Answers Call to Serve During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Reaching Key Audiences During a Pandemic
- One Local Health Department’s Approach to Health Equity During COVID-19 Response
Below is an excerpt from the issue.
One Local Health Department’s Approach to Health Equity During COVID-19 Response
By Kellie Hall, MSOD, Senior Specialist, NACCHO Research & Evaluation and Karissa Avignon, MPH, CDC PHAP Fellow, NACCHO Research & Evaluation
From the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 was widely known to disproportionately affect special populations—older adults in particular. As the months went on, it became increasingly clear that additional communities, including those of color, also experienced inequitable risk of illness and death from the virus. One study showed that Black people were up to twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white people in some localities. These data became omnipresent and exposed a national gap in the health equity infrastructure among the broad public.
However, local health departments (LHDs) have always worked tirelessly to be a safety net for historically underserved communities during public health emergencies, despite ever-decreasing resources. Since 2018, more than 85% of LHDs addressed the specific needs of older adults, people with disabilities, or children in preparedness planning efforts. During COVID-19 response, specifically, 87% of LHDs prioritized targeted, specific messaging for high-risk or vulnerable populations. Through this work, LHDs tailored interventions for local community and culture to improve uptake and protect all Americans against COVID-19. To beat this pandemic, it has been critical to reach and support those who would fall through cracks without LHDs.
To read the rest of this article and the full issue of NACCHO Exchange, click here.