On Monday, our country will honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Martin Luther King holiday serves multiple purposes: it honors the total legacy of Dr. King, focuses on the issue of civil rights and the use of nonviolence to promote changes. It is also a national day of service that encourages all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. The establishment of the third Monday in January as a national holiday, like Dr. King’s work, was not easy nor swift. John Conyers, Congressman from Michigan, first introduced the legislation four days after the Atlanta civil rights leader was assassinated in April 1968 but it still took 15 years get legislation passed. President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation into law and the first federal holiday was celebrated in 1986. Adoption by states took years and it was not until 2000 that every state observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
As we honor the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., a look at the issue of healthcare disparities (inequalities) is timely. Inequities in the quality of health, health care and health outcomes experienced by groups based on social, racial, ethnic, economic, and environmental characteristics persist across the nation. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that disparities result in $93 billion in excess medical care costs and $42 billion in lost productivity per year.
We have much more work to do to not only address the cost of healthcare disparities but more importantly the adverse consequences on the lives of millions of American.
This Weekend Reading series begins with In the News, with articles on the who, what, when of at-home Covid-19 testing kits, the new CDC mask guidance, and more. Next check out Narrowing the Gap with articles on the healthcare disparities nationally and in Michigan, recommendations for employers to address the issue and other information. In Science Says, explore articles on how viruses can change over time, the role of face masks in Covid transmission and more! Finally, do not miss Urban Legends and my personal favorite – The Enduring Myths of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’.
I hope you enjoy the following:
1. In the News
AARP: How Can I Get a Free At-Home COVID-19 Test? Private insurers must pay, but most Medicare enrollees will have to use federal website
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS): Partnering with libraries across the state to offer free at-home testing kits for Michiganders
Axios: You can start ordering free COVID tests Wednesday
STAT: CDC encourages more Americans to consider N95 masks
Healthfeedback.org: CDC director’s comments that 75% of COVID-19 deaths are among people with four comorbidities applies only to vaccinated people
2. Narrowing the Gap
Commonwealth Fund: New Health Equity Scorecard: State-by-State Scorecard of Racial and Ethnic Disparities Finds All States’ Health Systems Are Failing People of Color
Commonwealth Fund: Health Equity in Michigan
Kaiser Family Foundation: Use of Race in Clinical Diagnosis and Decision Making: Overview and Implications
PR Newswire: National Alliance Offers Recommendations for Employers to Address Gaps in Social Needs and Determinants of Health for U.S. Workforce
National Alliance of Healthcare Purchasers: Leading by Example and Moving Upstream Together
PatientEngagementHIT: Income-Based Health Disparities Impact Health of Parents. The Urban Institute report showed income-based health disparities, with low-income parents being more susceptible to the health consequences of the pandemic.
Urban Institute: Parents with Low Incomes Faced Greater Health Challenges and Problems Accessing and Affording Needed Health Care in Spring 2021
3. Science Says
McGill University: Do Bad Viruses Always Become Good Guys in the End?
NPR: A Texas team comes up with a COVID vaccine that could be a global game changer
STAT: How medicine erased Black women from a ‘white man’s disease’
WebMD: Masks Cut Distance Coronavirus Travels in Half
4. Urban Legends
USA TODAY: Do you need an ‘armpit detox?’ Myths about aluminum and deodorant, explained
Smithsonian Magazine: The Enduring Myths of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’
The Guardian: Shaving your legs won’t make your hair thicker: 10 beauty myths busted
History.com: 5 Myths About Slavery
Enjoy you weekend!
Suzanne Daniels, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 1416
Birmingham, MI 48012
Office: (248) 792-2187
Email: [email protected]