HOSA-Future Health Professionals have learned, lead, served and innovated this past year. We know it has been a difficult year not being able to meet and hang out with our HOSA friends but now, more than ever, it’s important for us to find ways to connect. Through virtual chapter connections, partnering with the HOSA Service Project: Be the Match, and working with your state associations, we can come together to help build a better tomorrow. Together, HOSA members can help foster a close-knit community in a new time of innovation and change. A time when we, as future health professionals, can work together to help those who have lost loved ones in the pandemic and to create new solutions to challenging healthcare problems. As the saying goes, “two hands are better than one,” and two HOSA members (or chapters!) are better than one. HOSA, our time is now to be the change we want to see in the world! Connect with other local chapters, meet other HOSA members, and create partnerships to help people around the world.
Ideas for member connections
• Zoom socials • Play games in breakout rooms to create more intimate connections • Have “speed friending” events allowing members to meet one another • Challenge members to create and share presentations on topics that interest them • Create Group Me chats with other local members and officers • Connect with other competitors at your virtual SLC to make study buddies!
Ideas for connecting with other chapters:
• Host virtual events • Raise awareness for HOSA’s service Project or causes you believe in • Host a virtual Be the Match swab drive with chapters in your county or district to increase the donor registry • Have local chapter game nights for HOSA members to take a break from school • Create regional groups to brainstorm how you can work as a region to further HOSA’s mission • Host a college info night for all chapter seniors to learn tips and tricks for applying to college • Meet new chapter leaders at virtual conferences to create lasting friendships where you can • Host mock competitions • Have networking events for your chapter’s members • Invite healthcare professionals to speak to both chapters’ members • Create a community that expands beyond your local high school and supports one another
I t’s that time of year when the cliche saying, “new year, new me” gets thrown around like confetti after the ball drops. So, instead of tossing our old 2020 selves out of the window, let’s continue building that person into someone whose mind and body are ready for what this new year has to offer. It’s important as future health professionals to not only talk about health but to “walk the talk” by incorporating new habits to nurture a healthy and happy version of yourself. The relationship between mental and physical wellness is simple — if you have poor physical wellness, you are more likely to have poor mental health. The opposite is just as true. A healthy brain results in a healthy body. As future health professionals, we are all doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 within our communities and circles. The task at hand seems simple: Stay at home as much as possible and wear a mask when you do need to go out. However, social distancing can cause more than cabin fever. It can have profound impacts on your physical and mental health. As we jump into the new year, continuing our social distancing practices, we hope you utilize the following tips to stay mentally and physically fit from home! Goal Set t ing It’s imperative to set goals for what you want your mind and body health to be. One way to stay motivated and complete your goals is to write them down! These can serve as daily motivation and a constant reminder of your vision. Keeping these on mirrors, your phone, and your workspace is a great way to stay motivated to accomplish them. Plan it for You! One great way to assess progress on your goals is to maintain a wellness journal. Journaling can be useful in monitoring your mental and physical health. Journaling can help us to organize our thoughts and make them apprehensible. It also allows time to self-reflect and look back on old memories or experiences so you can continue to improve for the future. This is a great NEW Year TIPS FOR STARTING YOUR YEAR RIGHT! New YEAR,
way to boost your mental health. You can freely write your thoughts down with no restrictions on what you are thinking. Using journaling can benefit physical wellness as you can track your health goals, diet, or how you spent your time doing physical activities. A journal can be a critical tool in helping you make steady progress. Keep Movin! Physical activity isn’t just about increasing your physical strength and endurance. It releases endorphins that reduce stress and can significantly improve your mood. Alongside endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are also released during exercise which gives you a good feeling about being in control, especially in an otherwise uncontrollable situation. Don’t let social distancing stop you from achieving your fitness goals. There are a plethora of fitness apps and websites to help create your fitness routine. What’s more, many strength and endurance exercises can be done without any gym equipment! Apps and websites like Nike Training Club and Chloe Ting are great places to start! Keep in mind, it’s completely normal if the current situation has diminished your motivation to work out, that’s okay! Take baby steps and start with simple The first problem to pop up when someone is wanting to change to a healthy lifestyle is food. We ask ourselves what we can or cannot eat. Some try diets or fasts to gain confidence in themselves but most of the time, these things fail. When we look at our relationship with food, many have fears or have too many or not enough restrictions. Everything is good in moderation. Your relationship with food shouldn’t have shackles on it, but it’s important to be mindful of what we eat so our diet doesn’t one day become shackled to “healthy foods” we may not always like. Prepare for a good night ’s sleep A regular sleep cycle can establish a sense of structure and keep stress at bay. You’ll find yourself falling asleep faster and get better quality sleep if you stick to a schedule. Aim to sleep and wake up around the same time daily. Be sure to turn off electronics at least 30 minutes before your bedtime; they emit blue light that interferes with melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. If you are used to doing this, consider using this time to shower, plan your schedule for the next day, or do some light clean up as you prepare for a fresh day. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try drinking herbal tea, taking a hot bath or shower, or writing down any thoughts that keep you tossing and turning. You are not alone! At a time when we all need to keep our physical distance from our friends, it’s important to remember that we should keep connected emotionally. A quick phone call or video chat with relatives and friends is a great way to reconnect and maintain your relationships. Good communication is important now more than ever. Set up a virtual game night with your friends! A simple google search for virtual games opens lots of possibilities for a night full of laughs and memories. As future health professionals, we hope you will continue to stay resilient and put your mental and physical health as a top priority always! activities like stretching at home or walking/biking around your neighborhood. Choose your snacks wisely!
What does mRNA do in a vaccine? Just like the mRNA in your body, the mRNA used in the new vaccine technology codes for specific proteins found on disease causing agents. Proteins are found in all living organisms, including viruses and bacteria and have a variety of functions that go beyond the scope of this article (but we encourage you to learn more!). For our purposes, we will focus on the proteins found on the outside of viruses that are used to bind to surfaces, serve as receptors, and many other functions. With mRNA vaccines, the mRNA is created to code for the proteins that signal the presence of a foreign body. For example, let’s look at the new mRNA vaccine that is helping fight SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). This vaccine codes for the S proteins that are found on the surface of the virus. As this mRNA is producing these proteins, the body’s adaptive immune system recognizes that this protein does not belong and begins creating antibodies that can be used to fight any further proteins that it recognizes (Alberts, 2002). In short, the body creates a “memory” of these proteins and stockpiles the tools necessary to fight against them in the future (“Understanding and Explaining mRNA,” 2020).
Saving Lives through Innovation
J ust as innovation plays a crucial role in HOSA, innovation plays an even bigger role in the healthcare industry at large. From creating prosthetics in the field of bioengineering to creating new pharmaceutical drugs for illnesses, the healthcare industry relies on innovation in order to make a positive impact on patients. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, one special field of the healthcare industry has become the forefront of innovation: vaccines. Before diving into the exciting new technology and innovation surrounding vaccines in 2020 and 2021, it is first important to take a detour to understand the history of vaccines and how they function. Our immune system works in amazing ways to protect us from diseases or pathogens in our environments. In a general sense, when a new disease enters our body, it produces a new antigen. For each new antigen introduced to our body, our immune system must create a specific antibody to attach to the antigen and destroy the disease. A vaccine works by introducing the disease to your immune system so that it can build the necessary antibodies to fight the disease. We will discuss this in more detail shortly. In the past, vaccines were a weakened version of a disease that wouldn’t be enough to cause actual illness, but enough for the immune system to build up its defenses against the disease. In modern times, most vaccines introduce a blueprint of a disease’s antigen instead of the actual virus. The more the immune system is exposed to the disease, the quicker it gets at eradicating the disease.
The practice of immunization dates back hundreds of years from a variety of cultures. However, a man named Edward Jenner was considered the founder of vaccines with his use of material from cowpox pustules to provide protection against smallpox in 1796. His first patient was a 13-year-old boy who Jenner injected with the cowpox virus (vaccinia virus). To his surprise, the boy presented with immunity to the smallpox virus. From this breakthrough discovery, Edward Jenner solidified the basic concept of vaccines. Additionally, his discovery was the catalyst for creation of various other vaccines for many illnesses. Some examples include the discovery of the Rabies vaccine by Louis Pasteur, the Polio vaccine by Jonas Salk, or the Cholera vaccine by Jaime Ferrán. For modern day diseases, there is a more streamlined procedure for the discovery of new vaccines. In most cases, once a vaccine is discovered, it must go through an intense, multi-step process before it can be released to the public. This process consists of three phases of clinical studies. The first stage tests for safety, the second stage tests for effectiveness, and the third stage tests for both safety and effectiveness. If the clinical trials successfully demonstrate the vaccine is safe and effective, it will proceed to seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Lastly, the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) will review and approve of the vaccine. From there, a plan for public distribution is set in place. Now that we understand the history of vaccines, let’s take a deeper look into the more modern ways vaccines are produced and used.
How are mRNA vaccines different from other vaccines? We know that “traditional” types of vaccines have been around for a while, but how are they different from the new mRNA vaccines we are seeing today? Here are what are considered to the “traditional” vaccines (“Vaccine FAQ,” 2021): • Live-attenuated: consist of weakened copies of disease-causing organisms (Ex. MMR \vaccine) • Inactivated: consist of a dead copy of disease-causing organism (Influenza vaccines) • Subunit: Contain pieces of the disease-causing organism (pneumococcal vaccines) • Toxoid: consist of toxin that is created by the disease-causing organism (tetanus vaccine) Each of these vaccine variations are effective in fighting against disease, but they can take a very long time to produce. For example, the Flu vaccine takes six months to produce before it can be distributed to the public. However, mRNA vaccines are created in the lab and use genomic information of infectious organisms to make production faster (“Selecting Viruses,” 2020; “Vaccine FAQ,” 2021). What mRNA means for the future of vaccines As mentioned before, the use of mRNA vaccines means that future vaccines using this technology will be developed much faster. The introduction of mRNA technology also means that other diseases and viruses may soon have vaccines that target and prevent infection. All in all, the future of vaccines and disease prevention is looking up, as this new technology has the possibility of helping to slow the spread of diseases more rapidly and prevent future disease outbreaks (Komaroff, 2020).
A lthough vaccines have been used for hundreds of years, in 2020 the world saw the implementation of a new type of vaccine. This new technology uses mRNA to help our bodies create a stronger defense against foreign bodies that seek to cause disease. What is mRNA? The key to understanding how mRNA vaccines work is to first understand what mRNA is. To do that, let’s take a look at the central dogma of biology. The central dogma states DNA is transcribed into RNA, which is then translated to proteins. The piece of this dogma this technology focuses on is the translation from RNA to proteins. When a cell begins to make proteins, enzymes are brought in to separate the DNA strands and begin making complementary RNA strands of each DNA strand. Once the complementary strands are complete, they are called “messenger RNA,” or mRNA. This new strand serves as an instruction manual for the creation of specific proteins and leads to the final step in the central dogma. In short, mRNA is the molecule that takes the code from DNA, breaks it, and creates proteins (“Messenger RNA”).
Citations Alberts, B. (2002, January 1). The Adaptive Immune System . Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21070/. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, September 9). Overview, History, and How the Safety Process Works . Ensuring Safety. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/ensuringsafety/history/ index.html Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, October 26). Selecting Viruses for the Seasonal Influenza Vaccine . Influenza (Flu). https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccine-selection.htm. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, November 24). Understanding and Explaining mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines . Vaccines and Immunizations . https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/ hcp/mrna-vaccine-basics.html. IDSA. (2021, December 24). Vaccines FAQ . COVID-19 Real-Time Learning Network. https://www.idsociety.org/covid-19-real-time-learning-network/vaccines/vaccines-information--faq/. Komaroff, A. (2020, December 19). Why are mRNA vaccines so exciting? Harvard Health Blog. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-are-mrna-vaccines-so-exciting-2020121021599. National Human Genome Research Institute. Messenger RNA (mRNA) . Genome.gov. https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/messenger-rna.
MATCHING PATIENTS WITH DONORS
Q: WHAT IS HLA MATCHING? A: HLA matching is used to match patients and donors for blood and marrow transplants. HLA (human leukocyte antigens) are proteins—or markers—on most cells in your body. Your immune system uses these markers to recognize which cells belong in your body and which don’t. HLA matching is much more complicated than blood typing. To have HLA matching done: • The patient and any potential donors will have blood drawn • The blood is tested in a lab to determine HLA type • The patient’s HLA is compared to that of any potential donors to see if there is a match HLA types are inherited, so you’re more likely to match someone from a similar ethnic background. Sometimes doctors have a hard time finding a match because some HLA types are less common than others. Once a match is found, the donor will have medical tests to make sure they’re healthy and can donate safely. Q: HOW DOES HLA MATCHING WORK? A: There are many HLA markers. Each HLA marker has a name. The names are letters or combinations of letters and numbers. There are rules for the minimum, or lowest, HLA match needed between a donor and patient. These rules are based on research that shows patients have better results with a closely matched donor. Different transplant centers may have different matching rules.
WITH BE THE MATCH ®
OUR MISSION: Be The Match saves lives every day by connecting the world’s largest and most diverse registry of donors (22 million!) with patients who are a genetic match.
THOUSANDS OF PATIENTS WITH BLOOD CANCERS AND BLOOD DISEASE LIKE LEUKEMIA AND SICKLE CELL ARE SEARCHING FOR THEIR LIFE-SAVING MATCH.
YOU CAN HELP! Get your chapter involved in the HOSA Service Project with
• RECRUIT: Patients are more likely to match with someone of their same ethnicity, which is why it is crucial to grow and diversify the registry. • FUNDRAISE: Every dollar you raise helps grow the registry, provide grants to patient families, and fund research to make transplant safer and more available to all patients. • WIN PRIZES: Your chapter can win prizes DISRUPT THE DISPARITY: not everyone has an equal chance of finding a match including lapel pins, t-shirts, and a trip to tour our Coordinating Center and Biorepository in Minneapolis! Visit BeTheMatch.org/HOSA to get started today and email HOSA@nmdp.org to get connected with a representative.
This is a simplified picture of a very complex process.
To learn more about HLA matching, watch the video series at BeTheMatch.org/LearnTheBasics .
HOSA Hears You By Shreya Shrestha & LJ Pasion In times of collective hardship and pain, it is more important than ever to come together as a community and find strength in numbers. As future health professionals and global leaders, we are devoted to listening to the stories of others and offering our empathy and support to remind each other that no one must endure life’s challenges alone. This is how we build a community of compassion and collaboration. With everything 2020 has brought into our lives, we have come away with stories of love and loss, and of triumph, and hope to inspire, empower, and unite us in the years to come. We would now like to share some of the powerful stories of HOSA members from around the globe, as well as advice and their hopes for the upcoming year.
Ellen Paligo TENNESSEE HOSA
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I spent my time volunteering at the local nursing home. Once the pandemic started, I was no longer allowed to do this for safety reasons. I began to write cards to residents of nursing homes across the country, a project that I am continuing for the Barbara James Service Award. I am so grateful for HOSA, and the ability to give back, despite the restrictions of the pandemic.
Elizabeth Colavecchio ALASKA HOSA
Over quarantine I had the opportunity to visit the capitol of my state (Juneau, Alaska) and go on a bear viewing trip. Not only did the money spent on this trip support the local economy, but I got to experience the wonderful Tongass National Forest up close and personal! I learned a lot about the behavior of bears, overcame some fears, and traveled by float plane for the first time!
Sarah Marks KENTUCKY HOSA PRESIDENT
Prior to the pandemic, I was on track to complete a nursing assistant program in May 2020 through the area technology school I attend. As soon as things began to shut down, my classmates and I knew we wouldn’t be able to complete the portion of the class that was supposed to be in a clinical setting. I knew if I couldn’t assist others in a clinical setting, I had to find some other way to assist in the pandemic. Being crafty, I broke out a sewing machine and scrap fabrics and began to sew masks for healthcare and essential workers. After making hundreds of masks, I still didn’t feel as though I had made a large enough contribution. The only grocery store in my county of 13,000 people was hiring, so I applied and accepted the position. Wearing masks, constantly sanitizing surfaces, and helping to keep the community safe has been an eye- opening experience for me. Not only am I potentially exposed to COVID-19 hundreds of times each shift, I have seen how the pandemic has affected so many people. Parents being forced to stay home to care for their children has put them in difficult financial situations, elderly people haven’t had the social interactions they need to
Travis Makana Taylor HAWAII HOSA Goals/Hopes for 2021 Dorian Ho NEW JERSEY HOSA Quarantine Activities While in quarantine, I got back into doing daily crosswords and learned a new violin concerto (Korngold Violin Concerto, Op. 35).
thrive, and so many other people have endured challenges as well. I am thankful for all of our healthcare heroes that are fighting this virus on the front lines daily, and I offer condolences to those who have lost their lives to it. Anna Becker WISCONSIN HOSA
My goals are to improve upon the leadership skills I have gained so far, as well as doing well in HOSA competition. My biggest hope in 2021 is that we can all pull through in the face of adversity and accomplish things that we otherwise thought we could not before.
I’m a senior in high school and also a State Officer. Way before COVID was even in effect, I knew this year was going to be special. I spend my time working as a CNA, completing HOSA projects, and doing my homework for school. I am devastated that my last year of HOSA is all virtual and that I missed so much compared to other State Officers from years past. However, this year has also brought good in my life. I am a senior and am almost ready to start a new chapter in my life. I am committed to play soccer at the college level, I am a WI State Officer and have been able to work, collaborate, and laugh with the amazing team that is WI HOSA’s State Executive Council. There is a lot of bad that has happened this year, but once you look at all the good things that have happened, it puts it all in perspective.
As HOSA members, we recognize the need for compassionate healthcare leaders, and we understand that starts when we come together to support one another. We were not able to include all of your incredible submissions, but we appreciate the stories you have shared and the ways in which you strive to remain a beacon of hope to the future of healthcare. HOSA hears you, and we will always be here for you.
As a member of this wider group, I serve as part of a team of faculty, postdocs, and students from multiple institutions and affiliations working together to support the data needs for an informed COVID-19 response in multiple low and middle income countries. The work we do is driven by real-world problems and firsthand issues seen and witnessed in these countries. In collaborating with our partners and local officials, we work to find solutions to the issues exacerbated by the pandemic in LMICs, through determining implementable solutions, be it through syndromic surveillance work to identify geographic areas and indicators associated with high COVID-19-associated symptoms, investigating changes in the use of important health services such as maternal care and vaccines/immunizations, conducting varied cohort research study designs to assess the impact of the pandemic on specific patient populations, or through determining efficient techniques for estimating COVID-19 community seroprevalence. Moving Forward: Forging Global Health Partnerships Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for a novel and holistic outlook to the fields of global and public health is clear, focused on long-term solutions and continuous partnerships, especially in LMICs. Evidenced by these times, the global health community must change what it prioritizes. As we move towards an uncertain future, we must alter who or what we work for and shift the ways by which we hope to achieve our goals to reflect these priorities. As we move forward and recover from the aftermath of the pandemic, it is imperative to continue working within and forging continuous non-profit, research-based, global health partnerships, as evidenced through the era of COVID-19. In being able to reflect on experiences in supporting a data-driven COVID-19 response group, a forward-moving field of public health, characterized by its equitable and collaborative response to community-wide and population-based health outcomes, can be envisioned. We must, as the future starts to approach the present, hold to a high degree our shared responsibility to support our global health community-a responsibility, as seen through the era of COVID-19, we dare not 1. Gupta, M., Wahl, B., Adhikari, B., Bar-Zeev, N., Bhandari, S., Coria, A., ... Peters, D. H. (2020). The need for COVID-19 research in low- and middle-income countries. Global Health Research and Policy. Health Research and Policy. 5(1). doi:IO.u86/s4 I2j6-ozo-oOI59-y 2. Rohwerder, B. (2020). Social impacts and responses related to Covid-19 in low- and middle-income countries. K 4 D Emerging Issues Report 35. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies. KARTIK TYAGI IS A SECOND-YEAR MOREHEAD-CAIN SCHOLAR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT take lightly. References
RE-ENVISIONING a DATA-DRIVEN RESPONSE to COVID-19 in LOW and MIDDLE INCOME COUNTRIES
Written by Kartik Tyagi T he COVID-19 pandemic has transformed what health equity looks like, especially for population- wide health outcomes in low and middle income countries (LMICs). But how has a data-driven response supported COVID-19 health outcomes in these countries, in
partnership with ministries of health, non-governmental organizations, and research-based groups? COVID-19 & Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) In a time where countries around the world are grappling with societal inequities and systemic injustices, it becomes clear that COVID-19 does not discriminate. The pandemic has ravaged countries around the world - developed or not. Although in the early months of the pandemic a large number of cases were attributed to developed countries, low testing capacity, among other factors, has resulted in uncertainty and potential underestimation of cases and deaths (Gupta et al., 2020). As it relates to social and community wide impacts of the pandemic in LMICs, it is seen that marginalized groups are most affected, the lack of response data exacerbates inequity, that spaces in which marginalized groups can be heard are being closed, and the pandemic has the ability to reverse decades or gender and women’s rights progress (Rohwerder, 2020). With relatively little information relating to epidemiology or the population effects of COVlD-19 and minimal data to inform pandemic response, coupled with limited testing capacity, low and middle income countries face several significant challenges as it relates to COVID-19 response. An Equitable and Data-Driven COVID-19 Response in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) The challenges that LMICs face within COVID-19 response bring to light several questions, including what the specific burden or COVID-19 is within these countries, how the pandemic has affected at-risk or marginalized groups, specifically, and how health outcomes and care is affected in these settings. Research-based groups have partnered with national health systems and local ministries of health in LMICs, as well as nongovernmental organizations like Partners In Health (PIH) to support LMIC COVID-19 response. One of those groups is the Global COVID-19 Response Technical Support Group, housed in Harvard Medical School’s Global Health Research Core.
CHAPEL HILL, MAJORING IN PUBLIC HEALTH WITH A CONCENTRATION IN HEALTH POLICY AND MANAGEMENT AND MINORING IN NEUROSCIENCE ON A PRE-MEDICAL TRACK.
KARTIK SERVED HOSA-FUTURE HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AS ITS SECONDARY BOARD REPRESENTATIVE ON THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL AND AS A MEMBER OF THE HOSA, INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS FROM 2018-2019. AS AN ASPIRING NEUROSURGEON HIMSELF, KARTIK WAS ESPECIALLY GRATEFUL FOR THE PLATFORM HOSA GIVES STUDENTS ACROSS THE GLOBE TO PURSUE CAREERS IN HEALTHCARE. KARTIK BEGAN PART-TIME WORK AS A CERTIFIED PHARMACY TECHNICIAN TO BE SUPPORTIVE AND PREPARED AS THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION CONTINUES TO GUILD UP THE COVID-19 VACCINE ROLLOUT. MOST RECENTLY, KARTIK WORKED WITH HARVARD’S GLOBAL COVID-19 RESPONSE TECHNICAL SUPPORT GROUP (RELATED TO DEVELOPING PROTOCOLS FOR COVID-19 ANTIBODY SEROSURVEILLANCE IN MULTINATIONAL COVID RESPONSE) AND HIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN THE LANCET. THE ARTICLE SHARES THE GENERAL HIGHLIGHT.
The Impact of Social Determinants of Health on the COVID-19 Pandemic
In just outlining these five determinants of health, we can begin to see how disparities within each of these categories are linked together and manifest as health inequalities especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic. This includes poor environmental conditions in urban cities and homeless shelters increasing levels of transmission as well as income instability increasing the financial burden of families exacerbating mental health. We continue to see how co-morbidities have a large impact in the COVID-19 outcome from chronic issues such as obesity and asthma. However, what becomes more important is looking at the interplay of these determinants and the role it plays on health. One specific case that The Lancet dissects further is the disproportionately high number of hospitalizations among non-hispanic black individuals with asthma. In this case study they were able to show how this population experiences high rates of asthma morbidity, smoke exposure, and poorer asthma control. These preexisting conditions are compounded when issues like disruption from stable school lunches and financial income. These issues only further perpetuate health inequalities that are already present. Though data and statistics paint a bleak picture, when we begin to analyze the health disparities we are able to create better measure to process us towards greater health equity. We already see policies like this emerging from the push for data disaggregation to allow for us to better analyze why communities of color are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, expanding coverage for insurances to include telehealth as a viable and affordable alternative to in-person care, and even creating resources to help other navigate state and federal stimulus opportunities despite your English proficiency. It is with policies like these that we can make the greatest impact on the global health community.
As of the start of February 2021, the United States has hit a staggering high of 3.38 million cases and reaching 2.29 million deaths globally. However, each of these individuals are not merely a number, a statistic, each with their own story and impact on the people around them and the world. But as we reflect back on our year in the pandemic and look forward towards the hope of more treatments and vaccines, we have to understand that just looking at the total number of cases and deaths do not provide an accurate enough snapshot of the health of the United States or even the world. For that we need to take a deeper look at the Social Determinants of Health. According to Healthy People 2020, healthy disparities are “a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with economic, social, or environmental disadvantage.” These differences can span multiple dimensions from age, race, disability status, geographic location, mental health, and more. Broadly the five social determinants of health are as follows: Neighborhood and Built Environment: his includes your community’s access to safe water and healthy foods as well as environmental conditions and quality of housing Health and Healthcare: access to and affordability of healthcare and cultural health literacy Social and Community Context: systemic racism and discrimination, incarceration status, as well as strength and resilience within a community Economic Stability: employment stability, food insecurity, and poverty level Education: early childhood education and development, enrollment in high education, and language and literacy 1 2 3 4 5
For more content on issues of health equity be sure to take a look at @roadtoequity on Instagram!
IT'S ALL ABOUT WHO YOU KNOW
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