The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the health inequities that have existed in minority populations over many years. While anyone can contract COVID-19, vulnerable populations, such as racial and ethnic minority groups, older adults, people with underlying conditions, people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness and pregnant women are at an increased risk of contracting the virus. Racial and ethnic minority groups, however, have been disproportionately affected by the virus. The COVID-19 pandemic is also highlighting societal and health care inequities. It is more important than ever to promote and maintain preventative measures in the community. In conjunction with the work of the agencies Local Office on Minority Health, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County developed a COVID-19 Community Health Equity Education & Outreach Plan and Task Force in an effort to address these inequities.
Local Office on Minority Health
The Dayton & Montgomery County Local Office of Minority Health is a program funded by a grant from the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, in partnership with Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County. The Local Office on Minority Health’s mission is to provide leadership that is dedicated to reducing and eliminating disparities and inequities in the health status of the minoritized populations within the City of Dayton and Montgomery County. The program is dedicated to eliminating health disparities in minority communities through monitoring and reporting the health status of minority populations, informing, educating and empowering people, mobilizing community partnerships and actions, and developing policies and plans to support health efforts.
- Monitor and report on the health status of minoritized populations.
- Inform, educate, and empower the local community on minority health topic.
- Mobilize community partnerships and actions to combat health disparities and inequities.
- Develop policies and plans to support minority health efforts.
- Pursue opportunities to foster greater sustainability among program initiatives.
- COVID-19 Community Health Equity Education and Outreach
- Team established to prioritize education and outreach opportunities toward most vulnerable demographic groups.
- Includes a task force made up of local community leaders from different demographics.
- Distributed a total of 6,871 resource bags and 19,310 face masks from August to December.
- Leading marketing campaign to promote health behavior related to COVID-19 guidelines.
- Vaccine Attitude Survey
- Implemented vaccine attitude survey to provide community members with opportunity to voice their concerns and worries about the vaccine directly to the health department, to be used to inform Public Health messaging efforts and vaccination approach.
- Collected over 2,200 responses so far
- 'Ask the Experts' Video Series
- Implemented on our Facebook page to provide community members with insight related to COVID-19 and the vaccine from some of our local community leaders and different subject matter experts; new videos will be released regularly.
- A Community Forum with Black Montgomery County: COVID-19, Vaccination, Health Equity
- Live virtual community forum engaging our Black and African American county residents (as our most vulnerable and vaccine hesitant demographic group based on nation-wide evidence) to give them the opportunity to hear from local experts and community change-makers to ask the questions they want answered about the vaccine, and to instill increased confidence in vaccination efforts by putting the insight and perspective of the local leaders that they trust on display.
- Public Health has adjusted its approach to foster equity in vaccination efforts by allocating vaccine to our minoritized communities, starting with our Black and African American residents with plans to expand targeted opportunities to additional vulnerable demographics.
By improving race and ethnicity data collection and reporting, we continue to increase our understanding of health disparities related to COVID-19. This knowledge helps us create more equitable public health policies and prevention strategies. Using multiple sources, CDC data show that the risks for COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death differ by race and ethnicity.
- American Indian and Alaska Native people were 3.7 times more likely than non-Hispanic white people to be hospitalized and 2.4 times more likely to die from COVID-19 infection.
- Black or African American people were 2.9 times more likely than non-Hispanic white people to be hospitalized and 1.9 times more likely to die from COVID-19 infection.
- Hispanic and Latino people were 3.1 times more likely than non-Hispanic white people to be hospitalized and 2.3 times more likely to die from COVID-19 infection.