Skip to:

The Reckoning: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Racial Justice

Dr. Vickie Mays, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of health policy and management, was interviewed by UCLA Health's U Magazine about the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing movement toward racial justice

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the realities of long-standing racial inequities in the American health care system, conditions that are exacerbated by the deep seams of disparities that cut through every layer of society and now are the focus of the movement to address racial injustice.

“Poverty and racism lead to unfavorable housing conditions, high-risk employment and poor access to care,” says Folasade May, MD (FEL ’15), PhD, a health-equity researcher and quality director at UCLA Health and director of UCLA’s Melvin and Bren Simon Gastroenterology Quality Improvement Program. “All of these circumstances put Black and Latinx people at greater risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19.”

While the media’s portrayal of COVID-19 implies that Blacks and Latinos, because of their poor health status, will get the virus and die, “little attention is focused on the role of labor practices in which Blacks [and Latinos] in America work in occupations and places that are more likely to put them at risk of being infected,” says Vickie M. Mays, PhD, director of the UCLA Center on Bridging Research Innovation, Training and Education for Minority Health Disparities Solutions.

by Andrea Collier