Advocates push 2020 Census participation to reverse health disparities


  • Published On  Jul 8, 2020
  • Publication  The Tribe
  • Author  Jessi Roti

Excerpt

Long-time health disparities affecting Chicago’s most vulnerable populations have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March, when uncertainty surrounding the virus heightened fears and sparked an overall economic shutdown, ongoing studies and research further exposed pre-existing failures of institutions and systems meant to keep communities safe and healthy.

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After moving to North Lawndale while completing his medical residency in 1980, Dr. Art Jones worked alongside community residents and activists to establish the Lawndale Christian Health Center in 1984; serving North and South Lawndale, and East and West Garfield Park. Dr. Jones currently acts as Chief Medical Officer of Medical Home Network, which comprises 10 federally qualified health centers including Lawndale Christian, Mt. Sinai, Rush and LaRabida.

History, as he’s witnessed, has shown time and again that public health crises have much more dire consequences for communities of color.

“[North Lawndale] and under-resourced neighborhoods have had fits and starts over the years in terms of investment but are the first to experience the negative impact of economic downturns and the last to come back,” Dr. Jones wrote via email.

“Although the focus right now is on the direct impact of COVID-19 infection in terms of morbidity and mortality, we will increasingly see the impact that the pandemic has on deferred management of acute and chronic conditions as well,” he continued. “We should anticipate a rise in violent crimes, children who don’t have computers and the internet falling further behind in education, etc.”

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