These are unprecedented times, and the National Minority Cardiovascular Alliance (NMC Alliance) is committed to ensuring that our most vulnerable populations are not forgotten as we address the new reality created by COVID-19.
We represent historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups that are frequently underserved, including African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American populations. These populations are not only at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, but also share similar cultural practices which center around family, faith and community gatherings which makes them particularly susceptible to COVID-19. We know that in the best of times, these patients often face difficult hurdles that impact their
health, access to care and treatment. Many patients in these groups are facing the pandemic with chronic health, medical, and resource vulnerabilities that create an especially dire reality. As examples:
- The African American/Black community has a disproportionately high burden of chronic illnesses, particularly hypertension and diabetes. A historically rooted general mistrust of the healthcare system could also complicate prompt and effective care.
- The Hispanic/Latino community are less likely to be insured and have regular access to care. Many subgroups in this community are employed in the service industry, which does not lend itself to working from home, thus posing more challenges to seek care if needed.
- The Asian/Pacific Islander community has a particularly high number of individuals working in healthcare, transportation and the service industry, thus may have trouble making ends meet if furloughed, while those who continue to work are at increased exposure of acquiring and transmitting the virus to others, including their loved ones.
- The Native American community has traditionally experienced high levels of poverty and unemployment. This, along with a culture that does not readily engage with the healthcare establishment to address cardiovascular health, puts additional burden on an already encumbered group.
We need to recognize the challenges these communities face and acknowledge that additional education, care, resources and attention may be necessary to keep individuals and families in these populations healthy.
Paramount right now is that we all follow the guidance to control the spread and effectively treat those infected with COVID-19. The
has dedicated webpages with guidelines on how to prevent the spread, what to do if you think you are sick, and many other important resources for the country. We need to help support others who are vulnerable, who have more limited ability to shelter in place, and who have limited resources. This is a time where we need community more than ever and there is no place for discrimination. COVID-19 does not care about race or ethnicity; we are all in this together.
The National Minority Cardiovascular Alliance is ensuring our most vulnerable populations are at the forefront of efforts. We greatly appreciate those healthcare workers at the front line of this crisis, and recognize the sacrifice being made by the retired doctors and nurses returning to patient care to help those in need. We are grateful to all of you and for the support we receive from our partners.
Stay well, stay vigilant, and stay connected.