Racial disparities in healthcare have existed throughout the history of America, where a person’s skin color can have a significant impact on the quality of the care they receive. The podcast above offers a preview of the challenges that Amgen CEO Bob Bradway, and many others leading efforts for healthcare equity, will discuss at the Amgen Health Equity Summit, a virtual event on Oct. 22, 2020.
Health inequities can be found across the healthcare landscape, including in the outcomes associated with serious illnesses such as COVID-19, which disproportionately affects Blacks and other minorities in the U.S. It’s also a concern in medical research, where the diversity of clinical trial participants rarely matches real-world patient populations.
As part of Amgen’s commitment to understanding and working toward solutions to healthcare inequity, the Amgen Health Equity Summit will feature diverse panels of experts to explore the roots and ongoing challenges of healthcare inequity in the U.S., and to share insights for overcoming structural barriers to quality medical care among communities of color.
Bob Bradway to lead Fireside Chat
The half-day virtual summit will start with a Fireside Chat hosted by Bradway, who will be joined by Dr. William Shrank, chief medical officer of Humana, and Dr. Reynold Verret, president of Xavier University, a historically Black college and university (HBCU) in New Orleans.
“Healthcare equity has been an elusive dream in our society, but it doesn’t have to be an elusive dream,” Bradway says in the preview podcast. “We’re committed to working on it in the short-term and in the long-term, and we accept that this is likely to be a journey of a thousand miles but it’s one that we want to be part of.”
Following Bradway’s Fireside Chat, a pair of panel discussions will explore topics that are of vital importance in today’s healthcare landscape. Each panel will include opportunities for questions from attendees, submitted through the online meeting platform.
A discussion on diversity in clinical trials
The first panel will examine the persistent lack of diversity in modern clinical trials, including discussions of why Black and minority communities often avoid participating in medical research due to historic mistreatment and abuse that fostered distrust of medical providers.
“I really feel it's important to partner with patient advocacy organizations because we do have the ability to convene and engage patient populations as a trusted partner towards sustainable solutions,” says Jeanne Regnante, chief health equity and diversity officer for the LUNGevity Foundation. “And, really, we do that working with healthcare professionals, community outreach partners, and also industry, and we need to do it together.”
How COVID-19 has impacted minority communities in the U.S.
The second panel will explore the reality of how the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and expanded pre-existing health disparities in the U.S. Among the panelists will be Madeline Long, a COVID-19 survivor who is also the cofounder and CEO of Equagenetics, which aims to reduce healthcare inequity by making genetic testing accessible to minority communities.
“I'm a breast cancer survivor — I can honestly say that this experience was worse,” Long says of being hospitalized with COVID-19. “I'm very grateful, because there were four people that died on the same floor with me, and I made it. The healthcare providers, when patients come in, don't treat them like they have a disease...treat them like a human being.”
Health inequity, from slavery to modern day
The event will close with a keynote speech from Harriet Washington, author of Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, as she shares an eye-opening historical perspective of health inequity in the U.S.
“From the beginning, a very different model reigned…when it came to African Americans and white doctors.” Washington says in the preview podcast. “The real rule of physicians, when it came to African Americans, was maintaining, ascertaining and certifying fitness for work. Health was secondary. When you understand that, many things that are otherwise inexplicable become understandable.”