What You Should Know:
– Google awards a $1M grant to Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine to study the racial impact of COVID-19 and address racial disparities.
– The partnership will enable the real-time COVID-19 collection and study of detailed demographic data about the communities of color that are being hit hardest by the pandemic.
The research project will help policymakers better understand how to ensure those communities receive the targeted help that they need to close those racial gaps.
The COVID-19 outbreak is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color, raising urgent questions about why that’s happening — and about what can be done to reduce risk and harm for people of color. A new $1 million grant from Google.org will help the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine answer those questions by collecting and analyzing detailed data that can get to the root causes of why communities of color have been so disproportionately harmed by COVID-19.
AI and Data to Understand the Racial Disparity of the COVID-19
The research grant is part of Google.org’s health and science commitment to fund projects that use data analytics and AI to improve understanding of COVID-19 and its impact. The new partnership between Google.org and the Satcher Health Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine will also include a team of Google engineers and data scientists who will work full-time over the next six months to support the project.
Race/SDOH-Driven COVID-19 Impact Data Map/Dashboard
As part of the grant, the team of researchers will develop a database with a detailed breakdown of the virus’s impact by race, ethnicity, gender, social determinants of health (SDOH), and other critical factors. The data, in turn, will help policymakers better understand how to ensure those communities receive the targeted help that they need to close those racial gaps and ensure the communities receive the resources and support that they need to battle the virus.
This project will map data on the trajectory of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the United States, including its territories, and better understand and address entrenched health inequities in disproportionately impacted communities.
“Never before in the midst of a pandemic have we been able to realize an equitable policy. In creating a comprehensive, interactive, public-facing COVID-19 Health Equity Map of the United States, this partnership goes beyond showing disparate impact of the virus,” said Daniel E. Dawes, JD, SHLI director and principal investigator of this grant award. “By looking at the social and political determinants of COVID-19 outcomes, we can inform resource allocation and management, jurisdictions’ response and mitigation strategies, testing, contact tracing, and overall implications for health equity for vulnerable populations.”
HHS Continues Providing Limited Race and Ethnic Demographic Data
COVID-19 has been circulating in major U.S. cities since January. And five months into this pandemic, neither HHS nor the CDC has provided a full and complete data set showing the number of African Americans, and other racial and ethnic minorities, who have been tested for, contracted, or died from the virus. However, the limited data that has been released shows communities of color are suffering disproportionately from the pandemic.
Last month, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent two letters to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, requesting comprehensive national race and ethnic demographic data for tests, cases and fatalities related to COVID-19. Robust and comprehensive race and ethnic demographic data is critical to shape effective policy responses that direct resources to African American communities and other communities of color, and to stem community spread of COVID-19.
“Communities of color, specifically Black, Latinx, Native, and Asian and Pacific Islander communities, have borne the brunt of the death toll for COVID-19, even as many people of color disproportionately serve our nation as essential workers,” said Jacquelline Fuller, president of Google.org. “We are grateful to respond to this tragedy by investing a $1 million grant and a team of Google.org Fellows who will work full-time over the next six months to support the critical work the Morehouse School of Medicine is doing to map health equity across the country and to provide data-driven resources to jurisdictions seeking to incorporate health equity into their policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”