Thursday, January 21, 2021: 1:15 PM-2:15 PM
Amy L Ai, PhD, Florida State University, Faith Hopp, PhD, Wayne State University, School of Social Work and La Tonya Noel, PhD, Florida State University
This roundtable is aimed to address an important issue in the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Reports are emerging that the national tragedy is disproportionately impacting the African-American community in areas across the United States. In Chicago, for instance, half of those diagnosed with COVID-19 have been black, while African Americans only make up one third of the total population. Seventy percent of the fatalities linked to COVID-19 in Louisiana have been among black people, while this community makes up about a third of the overall population. In Michigan, blacks counted 40% of the COVID-19 mortality but are only 15% of the state population. The higher rates of infection and fatality are linked to existing health inequities facing black, Latinx, and Native Americans, such as higher rates of diabetes and hypertension (both of which lead to higher mortality rates for COVID-19) and barriers to care. Disadvantage communities and their small businesses reported more barriers to receive the Federal and State financial assistance. Also, Asian Americans are experiencing stigmatization, discrimination, and even physical attacks during this new pandemic, as were LGBTs during the AIDs pandemic. In the midst of the national crisis, many health professionals are concerned about the impact COVID-19 is having among minority and underserved groups. Clearly, social work should take an important role to help mobilize their appropriate resources to ensure they receive the treatment for disadvantaged populations, to recover from this virulent illness, to address associated behavioral health problems (e.g., fear, distress, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, loneliness, bereavement, substance misuse, domestic violence, financial disparities, and discrimination). Social work researchers also need to collaborate on conducting more cross-regional, community participatory types of research to present new data to inform policy makers, given the likelihood of the COVIC-recurrence. This roundtable will attempt to gather a group of concerned social work researchers and students in different areas for a constructive discussion regarding the following topics. First, presenters and participants will exchange information on the regional information to get a large picture of how the pandemic has disproportionally affected vulnerable populations, including not only ethnic minorities, but also religious minorities, sex/gender minorities, and beyond. Second, they will gather the information on social work initiative on such disparity related research, and some will introduce the applicable experience in community participatory research approach and other applicable means. Third, the leader of the panel will offer some newly collected tools for assessing diversities in coping with disasters. Finally, the group will pursue an action plan for promoting novel social work research in this critical area. Due to the new topic area, the time allocated in each topic will vary with the expertise and interests of participants. The ultimate goal is to enhance the research leadership of the social work profession in the national crisis at both regional and national levels.
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