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disproportionately hospitalized

Blacks, Latinxs, Native Americans hospitalized 4 times due to COVID-19 reflect health disparities

We are unfortunately now entering another phase of quarantining as many states begin to shut down again amid COVID-19 infection spike. And once again data shows that Black, Latinx, and Native American people are being  impacted the hardest by the virus. New data released by the CDC has revealed that since September, Black, Latino, and Native American people are being disproportionately hospitalized at about 4 times the rate of others. 

disproportionately hospitalized

Photo by Adhy Savala on Unsplash

People of color face disproportionate hospitalization rates

From March 1 to November 7, there have been 70,825 hospitalizations according to CDC data. White and non-Hispanic Black people represent the highest number of those hospitalizations, however racial and ethnic groups have still been disproportionately impacted. 

For Hispanic and Latinos, the rate of hospitalization is approximately 4.2 times the rate of non-Hispanic White persons as of November 7.

The same is true for Native American and non-Hispanic Black people, who have been hospitalized about 4.1 and 3.9 times the rate of non-Hispanic White persons.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

These findings are consistent with other data and reports that have revealed the racial and enthic health disparities nonwhite Americans have faced during this pandemic. 

For months, health officials have sounded the alarm about this trend. Speaking with CNN, director the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity, Dr. Lisa Cooper, said, “We’ve learned a lot about how to treat this disease as well as more about how to prevent it with wearing masks and social distancing. The problem is that for people who still are having challenges with access to health care it doesn’t mean things are getting better for them.” 

Public health experts are now saying that significant change won’t happen until the compounding factors and health disparities that put these racial and ethnic groups at a disadvantage are addressed. 

Health disparities and economic inequities increase the risk of exposure

Discrimination in social systems such as health care disproportionately impacts the lives of Hispanic, Black, and Native American people. Many are often uninsured and lack access to health care services. Others distrust the healthcare system after a history of racial discrimination. People of color are also at greater risk of chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease which can make reactions to COVID-19 more severe. 

Additionally, people of color are more likely to have jobs that risk exposure to the virus in areas such as health care, food production, and public transportation. Economic inequities also mean that more people of color are likely to stay at these risky jobs out of financial necessity. 

“These are real situations that people have to deal with that impact the possibility that people feel like they don’t have a choice in terms of being able to stay home even if they have symptoms that could be in fact Covid-19 symptoms,” said Jarvis Chen, a social epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 

CDC data is a wake-up call for families and officials

These statistics showing that Black and Latinos are at an increased risk of infection, has now influenced many families to take action. 

In an article with CNN, Irene Skinner of Jefferson County, Alabama and mother of five said, “I don’t want to take a chance and put myself at risk, nor my kids, nor my mother.” 

Her county has had more than 26,000 positive COVID-19 cases and 27% of them involved Black people. Additionally more than 400 have died of the virus in Jefferson Country, half of which were Black according to local data

Irene’s five daughters now attend school virtually after high school principal, Van Phillips, reached out to families to explain how COVID-19 disproportionately is impacting people of color. 

The school now has the highest percentage of virtual students. 

“There are just some things that we have to do to save our lives,” said Phillips. 

The CDC’s latest data on the health disparities facing people of color should be a wake-up call to health and government officials to provide resources such as distribution of personal protective equipment, sensible pay policies, and the potential distribution of a vaccine. 

“The demographics tell part of the story but they should really direct us to think about how we target populations that will benefit the most in terms of protecting them,” said Chen.

minority women's healthcare.

What’s at stake for minority women’s healthcare after Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation

This past Tuesday, Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as the newest Supreme Court Justice, filling the place left by the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her confirmation to the Supreme Court brings a lot of uncertainty for the future of women, especially Latinas and other minority women in terms of rights, access to education, equal pay, and affordable healthcare. 

Amy Coney Barrett taking oath. Lucy.Sanders.999, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Upon her nomination in September, Barrett said that should she be confirmed, she would be “mindful” of who came before her. “The flag of the United States is still flying at half-staff in memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to mark the end of a great American life,” said Barrett. “Justice Ginsburg began her career at a time when women were not welcome in the legal profession.  But she not only broke glass ceilings, she smashed them.  For that, she has won the admiration of women across the country and, indeed, all over the world.”

Indeed, Ginsburg’s legacy will not be forgotten. Ginsburg paved the way for so many women, championing for equal rights, fair pay, and women’s right to healthcare and bodily agency. It is important now that we keep Barrett accountable and hold her to her word to be mindful of Ginsburg’s legacy and life’s work. 

The primary issue at present that we should all be concerned about is the potential threat Barrett poses to equal and affordable healthcare for women, specifically minority women. 

You might be interested: The threat to women’s rights is of our own making

The threat to healthcare access for minority women 

With Judge Barrett’s confirmation, the Court is now poised to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA has been crucial to minimizing the gap in health disparities for women of color in recent years. Prior to the ACA, 23 million women were uninsured in 2011.

women's healthcare

Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, vice president at the National Partnership for Women & Families

According to a report from National Partnership for Women and Families, for that year, women of color made up 37 percent of the U.S. female population, yet they were 56 percent of uninsured women.

Since the ACA, the uninsured rates among Black women, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women, and Latinas have declined significantly, and have declined for all women by nearly half. Barrett has repeatedly indicated that she would support lawsuits to overturn the ACA and has criticized both major Supreme Court rulings that upheld the ACA (NFIB v. Sebelius (2012) and King v. Burwell (2015)). 

On the topic of healthcare access for minority women, we spoke to Sinsi Hernández-Cancio, vice president at the National Partnership for Women & Families and expert in minority women’s healthcare.

Sinsi  is a national health and health care equity policy and advocacy thought leader with 25 years of experience advancing equal opportunity for women and families of color, and almost 20 years advocating for increased health care access and improved quality of care for underserved communities.

She has extensive experience in health and health equity policy and advocacy spans the state government, labor and non-profit arenas and has also worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as a senior health policy analyst and national campaign coordinator for their Healthcare Equality Project campaign to enact the Affordable Care Act.

As an expert, we asked Sinsi what really Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court could mean for minority women, their lives, their health. and for their families. 

“We must understand the great danger posed by Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court for women of color’s health and well-being for our families and communities,” Sinsi said.

She continues, “Having repeatedly indicated that she would approve the dismissal of the Affordable Care Act, our concern is that a case, Texas v. California, will be argued just seven days after the November election. If Barrett delivers the vote that overturns the ACA, we stand to lose a lot,” said Sinsi. “To start, millions of women of color will lose their health insurance. Insurers can discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. There are 67 million women with pre-existing conditions.”

minority Women health

Photo credit National Cancer Institute – Unsplash.com

Sinsi also reminds us that we could also lose access to prenatal and maternal care since health insurance providers would no longer be required to offer it. Affordable, preventive services, from preventive checkups, vaccines, cancer tests, and mammograms, would all be on the chopping block if the ACA is struck down.

Losing the ACA will severely impact the lives of minority women and women living in underserved communities as health services will become increasingly inaccessible. Not only will they become unaffordable, but women are likely to also face discrimination based on racial baises, gender identity, reproductive history, and even their ability to speak English.

Previously, women were protected from discrimination in health care by non-discrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act, known as Section 1557. However, in June 2020, the present Administration finalized a rule that would eliminate these provisions.

This rule puts women in danger, especially those who exist at the intersection of multiple communities and promotes misogyny, racism, and ableism in healthcare. Currently there are many lawsuits in the lower courts challenging this rule, and if brought to the Supreme Court in its actual composition, it would likely to be confirmed. 

Greater health disparities during the pandemic 

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

In the post-COVID world we are living in today, it has become all the more apparent how important our health is and how crucial it is that we have access to healthcare. If the Affordable Care Act gets overturned, millions of Americans will be left vulnerable during the pandemic.  And undoubtedly, people of color and underserved communities will be hit the hardest as they have already suffered disproportionately with more COVID-19 cases and deaths than non-Hispanic white populations. 

“Today, more than ever, Latinas and women of color are living this dystopian reality with the Coronavirus pandemic. Those who ever doubted the importance of access to health care or our community’s vulnerability can no longer deny it. The pandemic has shown to great, painful, and tragic effect the devaluation of our lives,” said Sinsi Hernández-Cancio. “Although there are more than three times as many non-Hispanic white people in this country as Latinos, we suffered the highest number of COVID deaths among people under 65. The largest number, not a portion or percentage.” 

To put that into context, for every white baby that has died, Latinos have lost two. For every white child or young person between the ages of 5 and 24 who has died from the virus, Latinos have lost three. 

“These are the future not only of our race but of the nation,” said Sinsi. “Latinos between the ages of 35 and 44 have died at a rate three and a half times higher than whites. These are fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts, sisters and brothers who are no longer here.” 

The repeal of the ACA would be dire and health disparities would worsen for minority women. At a time when over 236,000 people have died in the U.S. due to COVID-19, and while thousands are experiencing severe symptoms, the loss of health care coverage during the COVID-19 public health crisis would be devastating. 

The future of women and girls in our country 

Like most of life during this past year, the future is uncertain, but Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court poses a potential but significant threat to limiting the rights of women and girls in the U.S., from personal autonomy to education and economic equity, healthcare access, and equal rights under the law. 

minority women's healthcare, empowerment

Photo by Natalie Hua on Unsplash

“Barrett will assuredly join the majority of justices who oppose allowing women to make their own decisions on whether, when and how to parent. Her ascension is part of a concerted plan to marginalize women and communities of color,” said Sinsi. “It has strong roots in racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and transphobia. But the attacks on our access to health care are central to it all. As my granny used to say, ‘If you have no health, you have nothing.’”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg paved the path forward for women and girls in the U.S. to have equal rights under the law. Her legacy is based on a foundation that values the rights of women and their right to agency and autonomy in their lives. This includes equal pay, access to education, and access to healthcare without discrimination. Judge Barrett promised to be mindful of the legacy that came before her, and it is our duty now to hold her accountable to this and to upholding the rights of women in this country. The future may be uncertain, but the path forward is not. 

You might be interested: Latina Equal Pay Day is a call to action

“Despite these genuine threats, I do believe that communities of color will resist these efforts,” said Sinsi. “We know that Latinos are the fastest-growing minority group, and we’re on track to become 30 percent of the total U.S. population. I think we’ll continue to organize and elevate our voices–and ultimately, I think public opinion will be on our side.” 

productivity at work

How to fuel your brain and triple your productivity at work

Did you know that food can help improve your focus and productivity at work? Food truly is fuel, but not just for your biceps, but for your brain too!

productivity at work

When we make poor choices in our nutrition it affects how we think, how we react to stress and how we function overall. How often do we just “grab” something that is fast and convenient so we can get back to our desk to meet an important deadline or be present for a very pressing meeting? Or how often do we just “skip” a meal so we can keep tackling our never ending “to do” list?

It’s time to start viewing the food you put into your body as necessary fuel that should be clean and nutritious so you can perform at your best and ensure your “brain tank” is not running on empty!

The following list of foods are brain fuel that will give you a boost to keep you focused and alert and increase your productivity at work –far more than a double espresso from Starbucks or your favorite bag of chips!

productivity at work1) Oats are one of the best breakfasts you can choose to fuel the brain. Make them with water or milk and a little honey, some berries and crushed seeds like chia to also sneak in some extra fiber and keep you fuller longer.
2) Eggs are a powerhouse of amino acids, good fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. Go that extra mile and buy free range – and organic if possible. Eat boiled, poached or scrambled, but forget the fried. One of my fave brands is Eggsland Best!
3) Seeds are high in the minerals magnesium, potassium, zinc and selenium; all essential for good concentration, memory and keeping us calm. Pumpkin seeds have been shown to support the area of our brains responsible for maintaining sensory function in tact.
productivity at work4) Healthy fats like avocado (omega 3 fatty acids) are absolutely essential for optimum brain power, keeping stress and depression at bay. You want to be also sure to keep your intake of saturated fat low.
5) Eat oily fish regularly like salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies and fresh tuna. Aim for three portions per week and remember wild caught is best.
6) Chocolate for chocoholics, pay attention….in order to fuel your brain effectively you need to stick to dark chocolate with a minimum 70% cocoa solids. Cocoa (from the cocoa bean) contains theobromine which contains tryptophan (the basis for serotonin), which elevates the mood.
7) Blueberries have been shown to protect our brains from short-term memory loss.

You might be interested: Erica Torres Pagano from corporate America to Total Fitness Evolution

Incorporating these foods into your diet plan is sure to improve your productivity in the workplace and in all areas of your life! Trust me…your BRAIN will thank you for it!!!

And here’s a TOP TIP…

Eating protein and complex carbohydrates together slows the release of sugar into the blood. Grab an apple with a handful of seeds to help balance blood sugar more, sustain your brain boost and increase your productivity in the workplace!

productivity at work