Structural Racism May Negatively Impact COVID-19 Vaccination Rates among Black Americans

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19 and Health EquityMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

August 20, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the structural inequalities that Black Americans experience in this country. Black people are more likely to have pre-existing conditions that lead to COVID-19 susceptibility and are more likely to be uninsured or have inadequate insurance coverage compared to white people. These structural inequalities, combined with incidences of medical racism, including reports of Black people being turned away from hospitals, have contributed to the shockingly high rates at which Black people have died from COVID-19.

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Evaluating Equity in Public Health Laws and Policies – A Critical Tool at a Critical Time

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19 and Health EquityMechanisms for Advancing Public Health

August 13, 2020
by Dawn Hunter

Conducting a regular assessment of laws and policies is a strategy for addressing health equity, especially when that assessment includes and is informed by community perspectives. The Network’s latest tool – Equity Assessment Framework for Public Health Laws and Policies – is designed to assist policymakers and practitioners in assessing new and existing laws and policies through an equity perspective. This framework can be applied to statutes, regulations, ordinances, resolutions, declarations, organizational policies, and policy guidance that either directly impact public health or impact the operations of agencies or organizations responsible for health outcomes.

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Addressing Native American Food Insecurity during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19COVID-19 and Health EquityTribal Health

August 12, 2020
by Mathew R. Swinburne

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased food insecurity across the country and Native American communities are acutely impacted because of poverty and loss of traditional food systems and practices (hunting, gathering, and cultivating culturally relevant and locally available foods). The scope of Native American food insecurity prior to COVID-19, while difficult to quantify, is an important baseline for understanding the challenge facing this community, the resources that are needed and whether current governmental programs are adequately meeting those needs.

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Voter Safety during a Public Health Emergency: What I Learned from My Role as a Public Health Advisor In New Mexico’s June, 2020 Primary Election

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19COVID-19 and Health EquitySocial and Community ContextCivic Engagement and Voting

August 4, 2020

How could I make the most of my public health law background as an “actively retired” public health attorney during a pandemic whose scope has not been seen since The Great Influenza of 1918-1919? The COVID-19 pandemic flared in the spring of 2020 while preparations were underway for the 2020 New Mexico Primary Election scheduled for June 2, 2020, with early voting beginning on May 5, 2020.

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Kemp v. Bottoms Unmasked: Emergency Powers and State Preemption

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Emergency Legal Preparedness and Response

July 23, 2020

In Kemp v. Bottoms, the State of Georgia sued the City of Atlanta seeking to declare null and void three local emergency orders issued by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. The orders at question roll back the reopening of Atlanta and, to deter the spread of the virus, mandate that people in the city wear masks when outside or in commercial businesses. Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, has been unwilling to mandate face coverings throughout the state and has aggressively sought to re-open his state’s businesses.

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State Mandates Regarding COVID-19 Vaccination

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19

July 17, 2020

Many are optimistic that a COVID-19 vaccine will allow us to return to “life as we know it,” with worry-free in-person gatherings like large sporting events and in-person university classes. While a vaccine is likely not the cure-all to the coronavirus pandemic and all it has brought with it, development of a safe and widely available vaccine will certainly signal a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Legal and Policy Action Now Can Lay the Groundwork for Posttraumatic Growth

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Mental Health and Well-Being

July 16, 2020
by Jill Krueger

Posttraumatic growth has been defined as “positive change experienced as a result of the struggle with a major life crisis or a traumatic event.” It is generally discussed as an individual phenomenon that may be supported in the clinical setting, but the concept may warrant consideration at the population level, as public health practitioners and policy-makers seek to address wide-spread traumatic experiences in 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic and racial trauma.

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The Navajo Nation Responds to COVID-19

Law & Policy InsightsCOVID-19Tribal HealthSocial and Community Context

June 30, 2020

The Navajo Nation has a long history of having morbidity and mortality rates that are much higher than the rest of the nation due to systemic oppression, underfunding by the Federal government, and lack of resources. In light of these factors, it should come as no surprise that the Navajo Nation is suffering extensively due to COVID-19 as compared to other parts of the U.S.

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