The coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) pandemic has overwhelmed our healthcare systems and caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. Black and Hispanic individuals comprise a disproportionate number of those deaths, primarily because of pre-existing health conditions such as hypertension, obesity, and asthma. Health inequities that underlie these disparities also exist within ophthalmology around the world, and more ophthalmologists should advocate for healthcare reform that advances health equity. Immediate actions to reduce health disparities in ophthalmology during the pandemic include taking time to ensure all ophthalmology leadership and industry is diversified with people reflecting the fabric of their countries, embracing telemedicine to increase access to medical care, and advocating for legislation that will increase health insurance coverage during this unprecedented time. Longitudinal actions include recognizing structural racism as a root cause of health inequity and actively rejecting it through addressing modifiable risk factors, increasing cultural competency training, promoting diversity in the workforce, and global leadership.
© 2020 Mike and Laroche.

References

PubMed