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On Tuesday, April 20 Axios discussed historic health inequities and the injustice in medical research that have impacted trust in the health care system and the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, featuring White House senior advisor for COVID-19 response Andy Slavitt, White House senior policy advisor for COVID-19 equity Dr. Cameron Webb and California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris.

Andy Slavitt and Dr. Cameron Webb discussed the White House COVID-19 response, highlighting rates of vaccinations and the administration's focus on equitable access.

  • Dr. Cameron Webb on how addressing short-term issues around racial equity can have a long-term impact: "There's the long issue of making sure that racial justice is a priority, making sure that we're serving rural communities and a very real and meaningful way...[It's] really critical to keep in mind is the short game in the long game."
  • Andy Slavitt on the impact of universal vaccine access for adults in America, focusing specifically on communities of color: "We are averaging about four million vaccines per day over the weekend [and] each day [during the week] we're doing we're averaging over three million per day."

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris discussed California's approach to addressing health equity, safety precautions, and building trust in public messaging:

  • On addressing systemic inequities and the issue of trust: "We see higher rates of disease and death in our most vulnerable communities, so we are sending higher numbers of vaccines to those vulnerable communities to proportionally target that risk. But sending vaccines to vulnerable communities alone is not going to solve the problem. So we need to address the issues of trust that have developed over decades."

Axios Vice President Yolanda Brignoni hosted a View from the Top segment with YouTube Director & Global Head of Healthcare & Public Health Partnerships Dr. Garth Graham who discussed protecting platforms against health misinformation.

  • "We're working actively to remove misinformation from [YouTube]. It's also important to replace that with the kinds of engaging information around science and public health...You can help reach communities at scale with scientific information in an engaging way."

Thank you YouTube for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Apr 20, 2021 - Health

Biden administration officials: Vaccine equity takes effort

Distributing the coronavirus vaccine to community health centers has been "critical" to the Biden administration's goal of vaccinating Americans while maintaining racial equity, Cameron Webb, White House senior policy advisor for COVID-19 equity said at an Axios event on Tuesday

What they're saying: Webb said the administration was committed to getting everyone vaccinated but "there's also that long issue of making sure that racial justice is a priority, making sure that we're serving rural communities and a very real and meaningful way."

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 20, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Environmental and rights groups link to push for equity in Biden's solar efforts

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new coalition has formed aimed at helping ensure federal efforts to expand solar power don't leave the poor and communities of color behind.

Driving the news: The dozen-plus members of the Solar Access for All Coalition include Earthjustice, Coalition for Community Solar Access, GreenLatinos, Solar United Neighbors and the NAACP.

Updated Apr 22, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on accessibility in health services

On Thursday, April 22, Axios health care editor Sam Baker discussed racial inequities in health care, from policy to disparities in mortality rates, featuring Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and #NotJustABlackBody founder and physician Dr. Magdala Chery.

Rep. Sewell discussed systemic inequities in health care and efforts to achieve access to health services in Alabama.

  • On the impact of the American Rescue Plan: "Giving extensions of the Affordable Care Act to people who are currently in an enrollment period right now...[It also includes] incentives for states that have not expanded Medicaid like Alabama, a five percent boost, encouraging them to do so now over the next two years."
  • On the accumulative nature of lack of access to quality health care: "You don't have preventative services [and so] you can't actually get the benefit of being able to treat some of these issues early on, which just adds to the cost."

Dr. Magdala Chery unpacked how COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities, and how a multipronged approach, from policymakers to practitioners, is needed to make a lasting difference.

  • On where to start with addressing systemic racism in health care: "[We can] listen to the stories of what has happened in this pandemic and start to center the communities and the voices that experienced this firsthand...they're going to be revealing solutions and things that we need to consider."
  • On what practitioners should ask themselves: "When a patient steps through your door, do they feel safe? Do they feel like they can trust that their needs will be heard?... What are you doing within your institution to establish trust, so patients actually feel okay coming to the hospital?"

Axios Chief People Officer Dominique Taylor hosted a View from the Top segment with Institute for Gene Therapies Scientific, Academic and Medical Council chair Dr. Donna Christian-Christensen who discussed social and economic determinants of health, and how it impacts everything from basic health to the need for more cutting-edge treatments.

  • "Just a small increase in a minimum wage, for example, has been shown to reduce low birth weight births and therefore reduce neonatal deaths. When you move an individual out of a high-poverty, low-resource area to a place that is a much has a much better environment, we see their health improved."

Thank you Institute for Gene Therapies for sponsoring this event.