Review: The pandemic’s missing data

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Review: The pandemic’s missing data

This op-ed in the New York Times by Dr. Aletha Maybank, Chief Health Equity Officer of the American Medical Association, urges ” laboratories, health institutions, state and local health departments and the Department of Health and Human Services to standardize, collect and publish race and ethnicity data … to prioritize equity and effectively manage this pandemic.”

Maybank notes that fewer than a dozen states have published data on the race and ethnic patterns of the pandemic but that patterns are already showing inequities. “In Milwaukee County, blacks represent only one-quarter of the population, but 45 percent of the coronavirus cases and 70 percent of deaths. In Michigan, where 14 percent of the population is black, they make up a disproportionate percentage of cases (33 percent) and deaths (41 percent). And in Chicago, blacks make up half of all cases and 70 percent of the deaths even though the city is only one-third black.”

Maybank urges demographic data on “who receives tests, who tests positive, who is hospitalized, who dies and eventually who receives treatment and a vaccine.” She also calls for that information for clinical trials, which have historically excluded minorities.

She notes that going forward “when the time comes to rebuild our health systems, we must commit to finding ways to structure and standardize the collection of all types of demographic data, of information not only about race and ethnicity, but also gender identity, sexual orientation and preferred language that have made people more vulnerable to the blows of public health emergencies. When institutions register patients, they must also have these categories on intake forms. Not everyone collects this information, but it must become the normal way of doing business.”

|2020-04-08T08:59:35-04:00April 7th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: The pandemic’s missing data

About the Author: Seema Mohapatra

Seema Mohapatra
Seema Mohapatra is an Associate Professor of Law and Dean's Fellow at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, She teaches Introduction to Health Care Law and Policy, Genetics and the Law, Torts, and Bioethics and the Law. Seema Mohapatra is an expert in the areas of health care law, public health law, bioethics, torts, and international health and family law. Her research interests include the intersection of biosciences and the law, assisted reproduction and surrogacy, international family and health law, health care disparities in the United States, and informed consent. Her work has been published in several journals, including the Wake Forest Law Review, Colorado Law Review, Brooklyn Law Review, and the Harvard Journal of Law & Policy. Professor Mohapatra currently teaches Torts, Introduction to Health Care Law, Bioethics, and Genetics and the Law. She has authored articles and book chapters on topics such as insurance coverage of infertility and assisted reproduction, genetics and health privacy, international surrogacy laws, and equity in healthcare coverage. Professor Mohapatra regularly presents her research nationally and internationally at legal and medical conferences and symposia. Prior to teaching, Professor Mohapatra practiced health law in Chicago at Sidley & Austin and Foley & Lardner. She earned a J.D. degree from Northwestern University School of Law and has a master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University. She earned a bachelor of arts in Natural Sciences (with a minor in Women's Studies) from Johns Hopkins University.

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